AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

Prenatal exposure to maternal infections or immune response and the offspring’s risk for mental disorders – a review

by Eerika Flinkkilä

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2015
Keywords: Kansanterveystieteen osasto
Record ID: 1146468
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/153368


The objective of this review is to summarize the current scientific evidence on the effect of prenatal exposure to maternal infection and immune response on the offspring’s risk for mental disorders. Studies were searched from PubMed database with the following keywords: Mental Disorders AND Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects AND Infection AND Inflammation. Prenatal exposure to maternal influenza appears to increase the offspring’s risk for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, although the studies are not fully consistent. Prenatal exposure to maternal fever seems to be related with elevated autism risk in the offspring. No replicated findings of an association between prenatal infectious exposure and other mental disorders exist. Evidence for the effect of prenatal exposure to maternal infection on risk for mental disorders exists for several different infections, and it is likely that the genetic liability to these disorders operate in conjunction with the exposure. Therefore, genetically sensitive study designs are needed.