Washington: A new research has linked hormonal imbalance in the placenta to anxiety and possible vulnerability to poor mental health in mice.
According to new research by scientists at Cardiff and Cambridge universities, adults could be at greater risk of becoming anxious and vulnerable to poor mental health if they were deprived of certain hormones while developing in the womb.
The research conducted on mice has revealed the role of the placenta in long-term programming of emotional behaviour and the first time scientists have linked changes in adult behaviour to alterations in placental function.
Insulin-like growth factor-2 has been shown to play a major role in foetal and placental development in mammals, and changes in expression of this hormone in the placenta and foetus are implicated in growth restriction in the womb.
Professor Lawrence Wilkinson and his colleagues Dr Trevor Humby, Mikael Mikaelsson - both also from Cardiff University - and Dr Miguel Constancia of Cambridge University, examined the behaviour of adult mice with a malfunctioned supply of a vital hormone.
"We achieved this by damaging a hormone called Insulin-like growth factor-2, important for controlling growth in the womb. What we found when we did this was an imbalance in the supply of nutrients controlled by the placenta, and that this imbalance had major effects on how subjects were during adulthood - namely, that subject became more anxious later in life," Dr Humby said.