Fluoxetine during pregnancy: Impact on fetal development
ABSTRACT Women are at greatest risk of suffering from depression during the childbearing years and thus may either become pregnant while taking an antidepressant or may require a prescription for one during pregnancy. The antidepressant fluoxetine (FX) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases serotonin neurotransmission. Serotonin is involved in the regulation of a variety of physiological systems, including the sleep-wake cycle, circadian rhythms and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Each of these systems also plays an important role in fetal development. Compared with other antidepressant drugs, the SSRIs, such as FX, have fewer side effects. Because of this, they are now frequently prescribed, especially during pregnancy. Clinical studies suggest poor neonatal outcome after exposure to FX in utero. Recent studies in the sheep fetus describe the physiological effects of in utero exposure to FX with an 8 day infusion during late gestation in the sheep. This is a useful model for determining the effects of FX on fetal physiology. The fetus can be studied for weeks in its normal intrauterine environment with serial sampling of blood, thus permitting detailed studies of drug disposition in both mother and fetus combined with monitoring of fetal behavioural state and cardiovascular function. Fluoxetine causes an acute increase in plasma serotonin levels, leading to a transient reduction in uterine blood flow. This, in turn, reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, thereby presenting a mechanism for reducing growth and/or eliciting preterm delivery. Moreover, because FX crosses the placenta, the fetus is exposed directly to FX, as well as to the effects of the drug on the mother. Fluoxetine increases high-voltage/non-rapid eye movement behavioural state in the fetus after both acute and chronic exposure and, thus, may interfere with normal fetal neurodevelopment. Fluoxetine also alters hypothalamic function in the adult and increases the magnitude of the prepartum rise in fetal cortisol concentrations in sheep. Fetal FX exposure does not alter fetal circadian rhythms in melatonin or prolactin. Studies of the effects of FX exposure on fetal development in the sheep are important in defining possible physiological mechanisms that explain human clinical studies of birth outcomes after FX exposure. To date, there have been insufficient longer-term follow-up studies in any precocial species of offspring exposed to SSRIs in utero. Thus, further investigation of the long-term consequences of in utero exposure to FX and other SSRIs, as well as the mechanisms involved, are required for a complete understanding of the impact of these agents on development. This should involve studies in both humans and appropriate animal models.
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ABSTRACT: In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome (DS) exhibit dementia by the third or fourth decade of life, due to the early onset of neuropathological changes typical of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Deficient ontogenetic neurogenesis contributes to the brain hypoplasia and hypocellularity evident in fetuses and children with DS. A murine model of DS and AD (the Ts65Dn mouse) exhibits key features of these disorders, notably deficient ontogenetic neurogenesis, degeneration of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCNs), and cognitive deficits. Adult hippocampal (HP) neurogenesis is also deficient in Ts65Dn mice and may contribute to the observed cognitive dysfunction. Herein, we demonstrate that supplementing the maternal diet with additional choline (approximately 4.5 times the amount in normal rodent chow) dramatically improved the performance of the adult trisomic offspring in a radial arm water maze task. Ts65Dn offspring of choline-supplemented dams performed significantly better than unsupplemented Ts65Dn mice. Furthermore, adult hippocampal neurogenesis was partially normalized in the maternal choline supplemented (MCS) trisomic offspring relative to their unsupplemented counterparts. A significant correlation was observed between adult hippocampal neurogenesis and performance in the water maze, suggesting that the increased neurogenesis seen in the supplemented trisomic mice contributed functionally to their improved spatial cognition. These findings suggest that supplementing the maternal diet with additional choline has significant translational potential for DS.Neurobiology of Disease 04/2013; 58. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2013.04.016 · 5.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: With the growing prevalence of psychotropic drug prescriptions among children and adolescents, the need for studies on lasting effects of drug exposure on the developing brain rises. Fluoxetine is the only selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) officially registered to treat major depressive disorder in children. Although various (pre)clinical studies have assessed the (long-term) effects of fluoxetine exposure in the perinatal period and in adulthood, limited data is available on its effects on the developing brain later in life, i.e. during adolescence. The present study aimed at investigating the effects of age following chronic SSRI treatment on the central serotonin (5-HT) system. To this end, pharmacological MRI (phMRI) was performed in chronic fluoxetine-treated (5 mg/kg, oral gavage for 3 weeks) juvenile (PND25) and adult rats (PND65) after a 1-week washout period, using an acute fluoxetine challenge (5 mg/kg, i.v.) to trigger the 5-HT system. We observed a diminished brain response to the acute challenge in adult treated animals when compared to control animals, whereas this response was increased in juvenile treated rats. As a result, a significant age by treatment interaction effect was seen in several (subcortical) 5-HT related brain regions. An opposite effect of chronic fluoxetine treatment was seen in the developing brain compared to that in matured brain, as assessed non-invasively using phMRI. These findings most likely reflect neuronal imprinting effects of juvenile SSRI treatment and may underlie emotional disturbances seen in animals and children treated with this drug. Also, our findings suggest that phMRI might be ideally suited to study this important issue in the pediatric population.NeuroImage 08/2011; 59(1):218-26. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.082 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Every clinician faces the daily question of which antidepressant is best for a particular depressed patient. Double-blind studies submitted for U.S. Federal Drug Administration marketing approval include only the "purest" population of patients, and the American Psychiatric Association and other treatment guidelines often do not adequately address the complexities of developmental, family history, psychosocial, medical, and psychiatric comorbidity, and treatment-refractory issues that are seen in routine clinical practice. Long-term trends in depression treatment include ever-expanding choices among drugs, highly specific psychotherapies, and attempts to treat chronic and/or mild cases, with the goal of remission for all patients. We performed literature reviews and attempted to synthesize factors that may be useful in the application of evidence-based medicine in office-based psychiatric practice. We have found that factors influencing antidepressant selection include drug factors (including tolerability, interactions, and cost), depression subtype, psychiatric and medical comorbidity, and stage of life. In addition, patient preference for avoiding certain side effects and personal and family history of treatment response are helpful information. Most patients in the community would not fit strict antidepressant study criteria. Biologic markers predicting treatment response are not yet widely available, so the optimal choice of medication must be guided by detailed history.Psychopharmacology bulletin 02/2006; 39(1):38-104. · 0.50 Impact Factor