Early Biomarkers of Prenatal Stress (FELICITy)

In this Focus Group, Hans Fischer Senior Fellow Prof. Marta Antonelli (Universidad de Buenos Aires) works with PD Dr. Silvia Lobmaier and Prof. Marion Kiechle from the Women’s Clinic at TUM’s university hospital Rechts der Isar. The group also collaborates with the Clinic and Policlinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy (Prof. Peter Henningsen).

Pregnancy is a significant time in women´s life but it can also be very challenging. During the gestational period, women like any other subject can be exposed to endogenous and exogenous challenges that may be perceived as unpleasant, aversive or threatening in such a way that the homeostasis, wellbeing and overall health is threatened.

The Focus Group’s hypothesis is, firstly, that increased stress and anxiety will have a positive relationship with increased methylation and that perinatal DNA methylation changes in the brain occur beyond HPA related genes and that these changes can be mirrored in umbilical cord blood and saliva, which represent a reliable, non-invasive source to profile epigenetic alterations. Secondly, they hypothesize that children affected by epigenetic reprogramming already show alterations of fetal ANS. The team has already performed a number of clinical studies validating the advanced FHR techniques but now wishes to extend these studies to see if these monitoring techniques are useful for detecting PS. The significance of the proposal is that we will identify early non-invasive pre- and postnatal biomarkers of brain programming due to intrauterine stress exposure. This will help predict adverse postnatal neurodevelopmental behaviours, which is a prerequisite for designing therapeutic interventions.

TUM-IAS funded doctoral candidate:
Ritika Sharma, Gynecology
 

Publications by the Focus Group

2020

  • Frasch, Martin G.; Lobmaier, Silvia M.; Stampalija, Tamara; Desplats, Paula; Pallarés, María Eugenia; Pastor, Verónica; Brocco, Marcela A.; Wu, Hau-tieng; Schulkin, Jay; Herry, Christophe L.; Seely, Andrew J.E.; Metz, Gerlinde A.S.; Louzoun, Yoram; Antonelli, Marta C.: Non-invasive biomarkers of fetal brain development reflecting prenatal stress: An integrative multi-scale multi-species perspective on data collection and analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 117, 2020, 165-183 mehr…

2019

  • Cao, Mingju; MacDonald, James W.; Liu, Hai L.; Weaver, Molly; Cortes, Marina; Durosier, Lucien D.; Burns, Patrick; Fecteau, Gilles; Desrochers, André; Schulkin, Jay; Antonelli, Marta C.; Bernier, Raphael A.; Dorschner, Michael; Bammler, Theo K.; Frasch, Martin G.: α7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Signaling Modulates Ovine Fetal Brain Astrocytes Transcriptome in Response to Endotoxin. Frontiers in Immunology 10, 2019 mehr…
  • Lobmaier, Silvia M.; Müller, A.; Zelgert, C.; Shen, C.; Su, P. C.; Schmidt, G.; Haller, B.; Berg, G.; Fabre, B.; Weyrich, J.; Wu, H. T.; Frasch, M. G.; Antonelli, M. C.: Fetal heart rate variability responsiveness to maternal stress, non-invasively detected from maternal transabdominal ECG. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2019 mehr…

2018

  • Frasch, Martin G.; Baier, Carlos J.; Antonelli, Marta C.; Metz, Gerlinde A. S.: Perinatal Psychoneuroimmunology: Protocols for the Study of Prenatal Stress and Its Effects on Fetal and Postnatal Brain Development. In: Methods in Molecular Biology. Springer New York, 2018 mehr…

2017

  • Frasch, Martin G.; Schulkin, Jay; Metz, Gerlinde A.S.; Antonelli, Marta: Animal Models of Fetal Programming: Focus on Chronic Maternal Stress During Pregnancy and Neurodevelopment. In: Animal Models for the Study of Human Disease. Elsevier, 2017 mehr…