An immune response in stressed mothers' brains can help explain cases of postnatal depression, a study suggests. New evidence from…
An immune response in stressed mothers’ brains can help explain cases of postnatal depression, a study suggests.
New evidence from animal studies has linked postnatal depression with inflammation in mood regulating areas in the brain.
Researchers believe that the results can help them solve the mystery of the emergency that is still poorly understood.
5% of new mothers experience postnatal depression – also known as postpartum depression – after birth.
Depression can prevent a mother from biting with her baby and causes feelings of overwhelming fatigue and helplessness.
Dr Benedetta Leuner, of Ohio State University in the United States, who led the new study, said: “To get a better understanding of the factors that contribute to this serious and widespread disease will be the key to finding ways to better help women who struggle. “
Research focused on medial prevalent cortex, a mood regulating brain region that previously proved to be associated with postnatal depression.
We are very happy because this suggests that brain inflammation may be a potential contributor to postpartum depression
Rats stressed only during pregnancy to imitate a well-known risk factor for the condition.
After giving birth the animals showed distinct signs of depression similar to those seen in humans, including reduced attention from their kids.
The researchers discovered that the stressed rats, unlike their unrestrained friends, had increased the levels of inflammatory biomarkers in their brains.
There was also evidence of linking stress to changes in the function of brain immune cells called microglia.
Co-author Dr Kathryn Lenz, also from Ohio State, said: “It was especially interesting that we did not find any signs of increased blood inflammation, but we found it in this area of the brain that is important for mood regulation.  “We are very happy because this suggests that inflammation in the brain may be a potential contributor to postpartum depression. “
The results were presented at the Society of Neuroscience Society in San Diego. – Press Association