Prenatal SSRI exposure alters neonatal corticosteroid binding globulin, infant cortisol levels, and emerging HPA function

Jodi L. Pawluski*, Ursula M. Brain, Caroline M. Underhill, Geoffrey L. Hammond, Tim F. Oberlander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Serotonin influences the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system; therefore prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) may alter HPA axis development and function. To address this, prenatal exposure to SSRIs and maternal mood were examined in relation to neonatal and infant levels of cortisol and its binding protein, corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG). Methods: Serum cortisol and CBG levels were assayed from SSRI-exposed and non-exposed mothers and their neonates at delivery. Maternal mood symptoms were documented at 36 weeks gestation. To determine the long-term implications of changes in CBG, levels of salivary cortisol were assessed in infants at 3 months of age. Results: Prenatal SSRI exposure significantly increased serum CBG levels in neonates after vaginal delivery (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1028
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Serotonin
  • Development
  • Transcortin
  • Antidepressants
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth
  • Motherhood

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