Next Article in Journal
Molecular Features and Clinical Management of Hereditary Gynecological Cancers
Next Article in Special Issue
The ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ of Gluconeogenesis: Early Life Adversity, Later Life Stress, and Metabolic Disturbances
Previous Article in Journal
Albanol B from Mulberries Exerts Anti-Cancer Effect through Mitochondria ROS Production in Lung Cancer Cells and Suppresses In Vivo Tumor Growth
Previous Article in Special Issue
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Does Our Early Life Environment, Life Trajectory and Socioeconomic Status Determine Disease Susceptibility and Severity?
Review

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

1
Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 53223 Skara, Sweden
2
Midwifery Research and Education Unit, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hanover, Germany
3
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mater Dei Hospital, MSD2090 Msida, Malta
4
School of Community Health and Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK
5
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, MSD2080 Msida, Malta
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249503
Received: 2 December 2020 / Revised: 10 December 2020 / Accepted: 10 December 2020 / Published: 14 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic and Molecular Consequences of Early-Life Trauma)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: oxytocin; oxytocin receptor; epigenetics; polymorphisms; vaginal birth; caesarian section; skin-to-skin contact; effects of oxytocin; longterm effects; health oxytocin; oxytocin receptor; epigenetics; polymorphisms; vaginal birth; caesarian section; skin-to-skin contact; effects of oxytocin; longterm effects; health
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Uvnäs-Moberg, K.; Gross, M.M.; Agius, A.; Downe, S.; Calleja-Agius, J. Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 9503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249503

AMA Style

Uvnäs-Moberg K, Gross MM, Agius A, Downe S, Calleja-Agius J. Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth? International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(24):9503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249503

Chicago/Turabian Style

Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin; Gross, Mechthild M.; Agius, Andee; Downe, Soo; Calleja-Agius, Jean. 2020. "Are There Epigenetic Oxytocin-Mediated Effects on the Mother and Infant during Physiological Childbirth?" Int. J. Mol. Sci. 21, no. 24: 9503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249503

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop