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Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth?

Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin and Gross, Mechthild M. and Agius, Andee and Downe, Soo and Calleja-Agius, Jean (2020). Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 21 , 9503
[Article Review/Survey]

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Abstract

Introduction: Studies have shown that long-term positive behavioural and physiological changes are induced in connection with vaginal, physiological birth, and skin-to-skin contact after birth in mothers and babies. Some of these effects are consistent with the effect profile of oxytocin. This scoping review explores whether epigenetic changes of the oxytocin gene and of the oxytocin receptor gene (OTR) are involved in these effects. Methods: We searched Pubmed, Medline, BioMed Central, Cochrane Library, OVID, and Web of Science for evidence of epigenetic changes in connection with childbirth in humans, with a particular focus on the oxytocin system. Results: There were no published studies identified that were related to epigenetic changes of oxytocin and its receptor in connection with labour, birth, and skin-to-skin contact after birth in mothers and babies. However, some studies were identified that showed polymorphisms of the oxytocin receptor influenced the progress of labour. We also identified studies in which the level of global methylation was measured in vaginal birth and caesarean section, with conflicting results. Some studies identified differences in the level of methylation of single genes linked to various effects, for example, immune response, metabolism, and inflammation. In some of these cases, the level of methylation was associated with the duration of labour or mode of birth. We also identified some studies that demonstrated long-term effects of mode of birth and of skin-to-skin contact linked to changes in oxytocin function. Conclusion: There were no studies identified that showed epigenetic changes of the oxytocin system in connection with physiological birth. The lack of evidence, so far, regarding epigenetic changes did not exclude future demonstrations of such effects, as there was a definite role of oxytocin in creating long-term effects during the perinatal period. Such studies may not have been performed. Alternatively, the oxytocin linked effects might be indirectly mediated via other receptors and signalling systems. We conclude that there is a significant lack of research examining long-term changes of oxytocin function and long-term oxytocin mediated adaptive effects induced during physiological birth and skin-to-skin contact after birth in mothers and their infants.

Authors/Creators:Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin and Gross, Mechthild M. and Agius, Andee and Downe, Soo and Calleja-Agius, Jean
Title:Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth?
Series Name/Journal:International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:21
Article number:9503
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:1661-6596
Language:English
Publication Type:Article Review/Survey
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 3 Medical and Health Sciences > 302 Clinical Medicine > Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine
Keywords:oxytocin, oxytocin receptor, epigenetics, polymorphisms, vaginal birth, caesarian section, skin-to-skin contact, effects of oxytocin, longterm effects, health
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110336
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-110336
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3390/ijms21249503
Web of Science (WoS)000602906000001
ID Code:21802
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:01 Feb 2021 06:43
Metadata Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 06:51

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