Behavioural dysfunctions of 10-year-old children born extremely preterm associated with corticotropin-releasing hormone expression in the placenta

Acta Paediatr. 2018 Nov;107(11):1932-1936. doi: 10.1111/apa.14494. Epub 2018 Aug 7.


Aim: To evaluate the relationship between corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) expression in the placenta and the risk of school-related dysfunctions at the age of 10 years among children born extremely preterm (EP).

Methods: Corticotropin-releasing hormone expression was measured in the placenta of 761 EP children, who had the following assessments at the age of 10 years: Differential Ability Scales, Oral and Written Language Scales, the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-III, NEPSY-II and the Child Symptom Inventory-4. We evaluated whether lowest and highest quartiles of CRH mRNA were associated with undesirable scores on these assessments. With 272 evaluations, we would expect 14 to be significant at p < 0.05.

Results: Only 16 associations were statistically significant. On the other hand, seven of these were social limitations among girls whose placenta CRH mRNA was in the top quartile. Adjusting for delivery indication or restricting the sample to one delivery indication group resulted in few differences.

Conclusion: Overall, placenta CRH mRNA concentrations in the top or bottom quartiles were not associated with increased risks of dysfunctions 10 years later. Girls whose placenta CRH expression was in the top quartile, however, were at increased risk of seven indicators/correlates of social limitations.

Keywords: Brain; Corticosteroid; Corticotropin-releasing hormone; Development; Infant; Placenta; Premature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / etiology*
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy


  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone