Fluoxetine during pregnancy: Impact on fetal development

Discipline of Physics, University of Adelaide, Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
Reproduction Fertility and Development (Impact Factor: 2.4). 02/2005; 17(6):641-50. DOI: 10.1071/RD05030
Source: PubMed


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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    • "e is neonatal or adult administration of fluoxetine ( Bianchi et al . , 2010a ; Clark et al . , 2006 ) . However , it is unlikely that this treatment would be advocated clinically in light of ev - idence that this drug increases risk of malformations and cardiovascular abnormalities when given to humans during fetal development ( for re - view see Morrison et al . , 2005 ) , and exacerbates the behavioral deficits of Ts65Dn mice when given during adulthood ( Heinen et al . , 2012 ) . A final treatment that has been shown to increase neurogenesis in Ts65Dn mice is lithium , although in this case only adult treatment has been evaluated ( Bianchi et al . , 2010b ) . Again , translational potential is limit"
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Neurobiology of Disease
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    • "The SSRI drugs used in the 3rd trimester were found to increase the risk for neonatal behavioral syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, abortions and delayed neuromotor and behavioral development of children (Moses-Kolko et al., 2005Moses-Kolko et al., 2010; Gentile, 2005). Rare experimental studies showed the effect of fluoxetine on functional development of the frontal lobe of the cortex and the middle brain as well as on neurobehavioral development of offspring (Morrison et al., 2005). The SSRI/SNRI drugs can affect functional development of serotonergic and noradrenergic neurotransmitter systems. "
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    ABSTRACT: About 3% of pregnant women are treated with antidepressant drugs during gestation. After delivery the number of treated women increases to 5 to 7%. Most prescribed antidepressants in pregnancy are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and/or serotonin and noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram and venlafaxine (VENF). Despite the fact that VENF has been assigned to pregnancy category C by the FDA, experimental studies with this drug are rare. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of prenatal administration of VENF on early postnatal development of rat offspring and selected biochemical variables at weaning of pups. Pregnant female Wistar rats were treated with VENF from day 15 to 20 of gestation at the doses of 7.5, 37.5 and 70 mg/kg. Females were allowed to spontaneously deliver their pups. After delivery the pups were inspected for viability, gross malformation and they were weighed on day 0, 4 and 21 post partum. On day 21 post partum, the pups were killed, brains were removed from the skulls and blood samples were collected for biochemical assay (proteins, glucose-GOD, glucose-HEX, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and total antioxidant status). The study showed that prenatal VENF administration resulted in a mild maternal intoxication manifested by decreased body weight gain of pregnant females. There was no effect of the drug tested on the body and brain weights of offspring. No obvious morphological alterations were observed in the delivered pups. Similarly, there were no changes in the selected biochemical variables determined.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Interdisciplinary toxicology
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    • "Although, the exact mechanisms by which fluoxetine counteracts the decrease in immobility in prenatally stressed adolescent offspring is not known, considerable evidence suggests that prenatal maternal stress programs the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis as well as behavior, and that plasticity of the developing monoamine system in the brain underlies, in part, these changes [11], [69]. Furthermore, prenatal exposure to fluoxetine can alter HPA function [5], [36], [70], and thus may act to ‘regulate’ physiological systems impacted by early exposure to maternal adversity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period is a growing health problem, which affects up to 20% of women. Currently, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) medications are commonly used for treatment of maternal depression. Unfortunately, there is very little research on the long-term effect of maternal depression and perinatal SSRI exposure on offspring development. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the role of exposure to fluoxetine during development on affective-like behaviors and hippocampal neurogenesis in adolescent offspring in a rodent model of maternal depression. To do this, gestationally stressed and non-stressed Sprague-Dawley rat dams were treated with either fluoxetine (5 mg/kg/day) or vehicle beginning on postnatal day 1 (P1). Adolescent male and female offspring were divided into 4 groups: 1) prenatal stress+fluoxetine exposure, 2) prenatal stress+vehicle, 3) fluoxetine exposure alone, and 4) vehicle alone. Adolescent offspring were assessed for anxiety-like behavior using the Open Field Test and depressive-like behavior using the Forced Swim Test. Brains were analyzed for endogenous markers of hippocampal neurogenesis via immunohistochemistry. Results demonstrate that maternal fluoxetine exposure reverses the reduction in immobility evident in prenatally stressed adolescent offspring. In addition, maternal fluoxetine exposure reverses the decrease in hippocampal cell proliferation and neurogenesis in maternally stressed adolescent offspring. This research provides important evidence on the long-term effect of fluoxetine exposure during development in a model of maternal adversity.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · PLoS ONE
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