2020 Volume 63 Issue 4 Pages 301-307
Background Oxytocin has a key role in mother-infant bonding, maternal care, social interaction, and stress-related psychiatric disorders. However, the factors determining oxytocin concentrations during and after pregnancy such as medical history related to nursing or parental behavior are unknown. To elucidate these, we analyzed the relationships between oxytocin concentrations during and after pregnancy, and medical history assessed in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS).
Methods We then selected the pregnant women with a medical history of anxiety disorder and endometriosis as cases and pregnant women without medical history as controls adjusting the cohort for age and parity for a nested case-control study, after which 162 women remained for analysis. We evaluated 162 pregnant women from JECS using answers provided in a questionnaire and by measuring plasma oxytocin concentration by ELISA during the first (T1) and second (T2) trimesters of pregnancy, and after childbirth (T3).
Results Oxytocin concentration increased in a time dependent manner, consistent with previous reports. There were weak negative correlations between oxytocin concentration at T1 and the mother’s age and height, but no correlation with other factors. The mean oxytocin concentrations of pregnant women with a history of an anxiety disorder (n = 7) and endometriosis (n = 13) were significantly lower than those of pregnant women with no such history at T2 and T3.
Conclusion These results suggest that oxytocin concentrations during and after pregnancy were affected by a past history of anxiety disorder and endometriosis. This is the first study of the relationship between oxytocin concentration and endometriosis. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms, further study is needed.