Lower gut IgA seen in infants born to mom's with prenatal depression.

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

A new study published in Clinical Experimental Allergy, and featured on the Journal's cover, has found that moms experiencing antepartum depressive symptoms delivered offspring who exhibited lower fecal sectretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations especially in later infancy. The researchers followed 1,043 newborn babies participating in the CHILD Study Cohort, and builds on our previous study that showed a general association between a mother’s prenatal and postnatal distress and her child’s sIgA levels.

The antibody—secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA)⁠—is thought to help an infant’s developing immune system distinguish between harmful and harmless substances in the gut.

“To our knowledge, ours is the first human study to show an association between the timing of a mother’s depression during pregnancy and a lowered gut immunity in her infant,” said senior researcher Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj (University of Alberta).

“Our findings suggest that there is a ‘critical window’ when a mom’s mental health can have a significant impact on the development of her infant’s gut microbiome and immune health,” she added. The findings may have implications on microbe‐sIgA interactions, greater risk for C difficile colonization and atopic disease in later years.

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