The link between perinatal glucocorticoids exposure and psychiatric disorders

Pediatr Res. 2011 May;69(5 Pt 2):19R-25R. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318212c29b.


The perinatal period is particularly sensitive to a variety of insults during which stress-regulating systems can be permanently altered and psychopathologies ensue. The programming of physiological, endocrinological, and behavioral functions by perinatal adversities is mediated by altered levels of glucocorticoids or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in either the mother or offspring. In this article, I review the integrated data from human studies and from animal models that suggest the programming effects of perinatal glucocorticoids exposure. Finally, the concept of developmental origins of psychiatric disorders is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Rats


  • Glucocorticoids