Biomarkers of Inflammation in Perinatal Depression in Women Undergoing a Scheduled Cesarean

  • Wisner, Katherine L (PD/PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Depression is one of the most common pregnancy-related complications. One in seven women experience an episode of depression around childbirth. Perinatal depression develops either during pregnancy or after delivery and can persist for years. It significantly impairs the functioning of the new mother, and can lead to both short and long term problems in her child. The changes in the brain that lead to perinatal depression are poorly understood. Inflammatory proteins in the fluid surrounding the brain can damage the nerve cells in the brain, leading to symptoms of depression. New research has shown increases in inflammatory biomarker molecules in the blood of women with perinatal depression. However, only one study has provided an evaluation of these biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the brain. Furthermore, no information is available about whether these inflammatory markers enter fetal circulation and are associated with adverse neonatal outcomes. We propose to measure biomarkers of inflammation in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and fetal umbilical cord of women with depression and women at high risk of developing depression after childbirth. We plan to correlate these levels with clinical measures of depression in order to establish novel biomarkers for depression. These data will open the door toward improving the diagnosis of perinatal depression and developing targeted therapies.
Effective start/end date9/1/136/30/16


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Master Agmt/9-22-13/EX-B11)


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