Methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene linked to postpartum depression in prenatally nondepressive women

Written by Rebecca Sheehan

A multi-institutional team from the USA and England have identified a marker in the blood that could be used to identify women who may be at risk of postpartum depression (PPD), a disorder affecting almost 19% of new mothers. The recent findings, published in Frontiers in Genetics, documents a link between PPD and methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). The significance of oxytocin in maternal behavior is already widely accepted, including the link between low levels of the hormone and PPD onset. PPD can negatively affect both maternal and infant health, and put infants at an increased risk of...

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