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We investigate the role played by environmental risk factors (i.e., psychosocial stress and smoking during pregnancy), maternal biomarkers, and epi/genetic factors on fetal growth and newborn reactivity in conferring vulnerability to developmental psychopathology later in childhood. Considerable data indicate that diverse forms of developmental psychopathology are evident in utero. Maternal stress has been found to be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes as well as child developmental psychopathology such as anxiety and disruptive disorders. Genetic and maternal serum factors during pregnancy have been linked to susceptibility and transduction of the maternal-fetal response to psychosocial stress. Maternal stress is transduced by serum cortisol levels, and heat-shock proteins are known to chaperone the glucocorticoid receptors at the cellular level (Heitzer et al., 2007). Recent data also demonstrate a strong genetic component in developmental psychopathology, with growing evidence for the important role of the serotonin transporter and glucocorticoid genes. Both genetic and behavioral expression, however, are dependent on a large number of environmental influences, with compelling data to support the presence of gene-environment interactions (Moffitt et al, 2005). To our knowledge, no study to date has prospectively examined the interactions between genes and maternal characteristics that influence gene expression, and serum factors that transduce maternal stress to fetus development and infant reactivity. We intend to explore the role of genetics and epigenetics in moderating the relationship between maternal and infant traits and in conferring future risk for developmental psychopathology in infants.
Critical period for the CNS development
Nomura Y, Marks D, Grassman B, Yoon M, Loudon H, Stone J, Halperin JM. Exposure to Gestational Diabetes and Low SES: Effects on Neurocognitive Development and Risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring. Arch Ped Adol Med in-press.
Nomura Y, Gilman S, Buka S. Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking on Alcohol use and disorders in offspring J Stu Drug Alc 2011, 72: 199-209.
Nomura Y, Marks D, Halperin JM. Prenatal exposure to maternal and paternal smoking on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Symptoms and Diagnosis in Offspring J Nerv Ment Dis 2010, 198(1): 672-678.
Chemtob MC, Nomura Y, Rajendran K, Yehuda R, Schwartz DR, Abramowitz R. Impact of Maternal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Following Exposure to the September 11 Attacks on Preschool Children's Behavior. Child Dev 2010, 81(4): 1129-1141.
Weissman MM, Wickramaratne PJ, Nomura Y, Warner V, Verdeli H, Pilowsky DJ, Grillon C, Bruder G. Families at high and low risk for depression: A three generation study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005; 62:29-36.
Weissman MM, Wickramaratne P, Nomura Y, Warner V, Pilowsky D, Vedeli H. Offspring of depressed parents: 20 years later. Am J Psychiatry; 2006; 163: 1001-1008.
Nomura Y, Chemtob MC. Conjoined effects of low birthweight and childhood abuse on adaptation and well-being in the transition to young adulthood. Arch Ped & Adol Med, 2007; 161(2): 186-92.