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    ABSTRACT: Background: Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) is a centrally-acting peptide with highest concentration within the limbic area of the brain. PACAP is also expressed in and affects the functions of vascular and nervous tissues, endocrine glands, and the placenta. PACAP appears to be associated with the 'fight-or-flight' response to emergency partly through its effect on adrenal production of cortisol and catecholamines. Objectives: We sought to explore the impact of labor as a stressor on the level of PACAP in the fetus, and hypothesized that PACAP levels would be increased when labor, abnormal fetal heart tracing, or fetal growth impairment was evident. Methods: Fetal cord venous blood samples were collected immediately after delivery from a random group of women undergoing either vaginal or Cesarean delivery. The blood was placed in chilled EDTA-aprotinin containing tubes, centrifuged, and stored at -80 degrees C for PACAP immunoassay. Delivery data were abstracted for analysis. Results: The level of PACAP in cord blood was similar in both males and females. There was a trend toward higher levels in the cord blood of fetuses delivered by Cesarean compared to those delivered vaginally. PACAP levels were unrelated to birth weight, Apgar scores, and the presence or absence of labor prior to delivery. Conclusions: While PACAP and its receptor are expressed in placenta, and PACAP protein is found in cord blood, no effect of labor stress on PACAP was found. Further research is needed to understand the role of PACAP in gestation and parturition.
    Early Human Development 07/2014; 90(9):451-453. DOI:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2014.06.001 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Civilian posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat PTSD are major public health concerns. Although a number of psychosocial risk factors have been identified related to PTSD risk, there are no accepted, robust biological predictors that identify who will develop PTSD or who will respond to early intervention following trauma. We wished to examine whether genetic risk for PTSD can be mitigated with an early intervention.
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    ABSTRACT: In the United States the economically disadvantaged and some ethnic minorities are often exposed to chronic psychosocial stressors and disproportionately affected by asthma. Current evidence suggests a causal association between chronic psychosocial stress and asthma or asthma morbidity. Recent findings suggest potential mechanisms underlying this association, including changes in the methylation and expression of genes that regulate behavioral, autonomic, neuroendocrine, and immunologic responses to stress. There is also evidence suggesting the existence of susceptibility genes that predispose chronically stressed youth to both post-traumatic stress disorder and asthma. In this review we critically examine published evidence and suggest future directions for research in this field.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.07.005 · 11.25 Impact Factor


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Jul 19, 2014