The effects of antenatal depression and antidepressant treatment during pregnancy on both mother and child are vigorously studied, but the underlying biology for these effects is largely unknown. The placenta plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the fetus. We performed a gene expression study on the fetal side of the placenta to investigate gene expression patterns in mothers with antenatal depression and in mothers using antidepressant treatment during pregnancy. Placental samples from mothers with normal pregnancies, from mothers with antenatal depression, and from mothers using antidepressants were collected. We performed a pilot microarray study to investigate alterations in the gene expression and selected several genes from the microarray for biological validation with qPCR in a larger sample. In mothers with antenatal depression 108 genes were differentially expressed, whereas 109 genes were differentially expressed in those using antidepressants. Validation of the microarray revealed more robust gene expression differences in the seven genes picked for confirmation in antidepressant-treated women than in depressed women. Among the genes that were validated ROCK2 and C12orf39 were differentially expressed in both depressed and antidepressant-treated women, whereas ROCK1, GCC2, KTN1, and DNM1L were only differentially expressed in the antidepressant-treated women. In conclusion, antenatal depression and antidepressant exposure during pregnancy are associated with altered gene expression in the placenta. Findings on those genes picked for validation were more robust among antidepressant-treated women than in depressed women, possibly due to the fact that depression is a multifactorial condition with varying degrees of endocrine disruption. It remains to be established whether the alterations found in the gene expression of the placenta are found in the fetus as well.
- PERSISTENT PULMONARY-HYPERTENSION
- SEROTONIN-REUPTAKE INHIBITORS
- RHO-ASSOCIATED KINASE