Prenatal stress and inhibitory neuron systems: implications for neuropsychiatric disorders

Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Jun;19(6):641-51. doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.35. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Prenatal stress is a risk factor for several psychiatric disorders in which inhibitory neuron pathology is implicated. A growing body of research demonstrates that inhibitory circuitry in the brain is directly and persistently affected by prenatal stress. This review synthesizes research that explores how this early developmental risk factor impacts inhibitory neurons and how these findings intersect with research on risk factors and inhibitory neuron pathophysiology in schizophrenia, anxiety, autism and Tourette syndrome. The specific impact of prenatal stress on inhibitory neurons, particularly developmental mechanisms, may elucidate further the pathophysiology of these disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*