Understanding the pathophysiology of postpartum psychosis: Challenges and new approaches

World J Psychiatry. 2017 Jun 22;7(2):77-88. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v7.i2.77.


Postpartum psychosis is a severe psychiatric condition which affects 1-2 of every 1000 mothers shortly after childbirth. Whilst there is convincing evidence that the condition is precipitated by a complex combination of biological and environmental factors, as yet the pathophysiological mechanisms remain extremely poorly defined. Here, I critically review approaches that have been, or are being, employed to identify and characterise such mechanisms; I also review a recent animal model approach, and describe a novel biological risk model that it suggests. Clarification of biological risk mechanisms underlying disorder risk should permit the identification of relevant predictive biomarkers which will ensure that "at risk" subjects receive prompt clinical intervention if required.

Keywords: Animal model; CCN3; Immune system; Mouse; Nephroblastoma-overexpressed; Risk factor; Steroid sulfatase.

Publication types

  • Review