Changes in cerebrospinal fluid neurochemistry during pregnancy.

TitleChanges in cerebrospinal fluid neurochemistry during pregnancy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsAltemus M, Fong J, Yang R, Damast S, Luine V, Ferguson D
JournalBiol Psychiatry
Date Published2004 Sep 15
KeywordsAdult, Cerebrospinal Fluid, Female, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, Humans, Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol, Neurochemistry, Neurotransmitter Agents, Oxytocin, Pregnancy, Pregnant Women, Prolactin, Radioimmunoassay, Spinal Puncture

BACKGROUND: Little is known about changes in brain function that may occur during pregnancy. Studies in rodents and sheep suggest that several brain neurotransmitter and neurohormonal systems known to modulate anxiety may be altered during pregnancy.

METHODS: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma samples were obtained from 21 women (during weeks 38-39 of pregnancy) who were undergoing elective cesarean section and from 22 healthy nonpregnant women.

RESULTS: The CSF levels of g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycolwere reduced in pregnant women. There were no changes in CSF glutamate, 5-hydroxyindoleactic acid, and homovanillic acid. There was a large increase in CSF prolactin in pregnant women and also a trend toward an elevation in CSF oxytocin. Levels of prolactin, but not oxytocin, in CSF and plasma were correlated in pregnant women.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that pregnancy alters regulation of brain GABA, norepinephrine, and prolactin, which may play a role in changes in vulnerability to anxiety and depression during pregnancy and postpartum. Prolactin circulating in the bloodstream seems to be the major source of CSF prolactin during pregnancy.

Alternate JournalBiol. Psychiatry
PubMed ID15364035
Grant ListG12RR03037 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
M01770047 / / PHS HHS / United States
R24DA12136 / DA / NIDA NIH HHS / United States
R25GM60665 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States