Prenatal stress may mutate child’s DNA, increase risk for disease

prenatal stress may mutate childs dna increase risk for disease

January 13, 2021

1 min read

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Maternal stress during pregnancy may mutate the child’s DNA and thus affect risk for developing disease, according to study results published in Biological Psychiatry.

This risk may be particularly prevalent among Black women, researchers noted.

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“There are a lot of conditions that start in childhood that have ties to mitochondrial dysfunction, including asthma, obesity, [ADHD] and autism,” Kelly Brunst, PhD, assistant professor of environmental and public health sciences at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “The fetal and infant period is a vulnerable time for environmental exposure due to heightened development during these periods.”

Kelly Brunst

According to Brunst, programming effects linked to environmentally induced shifts occur over time and likely begin during gestation at the cellular and molecular levels. These shifts affect physiological states that may play a role in an individuals’ likelihood for developing adverse health outcomes, Brunst said.

The investigators sought to assess the link between maternal lifetime stress and placental mitochondrial DNA mutational load among an urban multiethnic cohort.…

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