Very preterm (VPT) infants requiring hospitalization in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are exposed to several stressful procedural experiences. One consequence of NICU-related stress is a birth-to-discharge increased serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) methylation that has been associated with poorer stress regulation at 3 months of age. Maternal touch is thought to support infants’ stress response, but its role in moderating the effects of SLC6A4 methylation changes is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the role of maternal touch in moderating the association between increased SLC6A4 methylation and stress response in 3-month-old VPT infants. Twenty-nine dyads were enrolled and at 3 months (age corrected for prematurity), participated in the Face-to-Face Still-Face paradigm to measure infants’ stress response (i.e., negative emotionality) and the amount of maternal touch (i.e., dynamic and static). Results showed that low level of maternal touch is associated with high level of negative emotionality during social stress. Furthermore, during NICU stay SLC6A4 methylation in VPT exposed to low level of maternal touch at 3 months was associated with increased negative emotionality. Thus, low levels of maternal static touch can intensify the negative effects of SLC6A4 epigenetic changes on stress response in 3-month-old VPT infants.

The role of maternal touch in the association between SLC6A4 methylation and stress response in very preterm infants / I.L.C. Mariani Wigley, E. Mascheroni, C. Fontana, R. Giorda, F. Morandi, S. Bonichini, F. Mcglone, M. Fumagalli, R. Montirosso. - In: DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOBIOLOGY. - ISSN 0012-1630. - 63:1(2021), pp. e22218.1-e22218.14. [10.1002/dev.22218]

The role of maternal touch in the association between SLC6A4 methylation and stress response in very preterm infants

Fontana C.;Fumagalli M.;
2021

Abstract

Very preterm (VPT) infants requiring hospitalization in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are exposed to several stressful procedural experiences. One consequence of NICU-related stress is a birth-to-discharge increased serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) methylation that has been associated with poorer stress regulation at 3 months of age. Maternal touch is thought to support infants’ stress response, but its role in moderating the effects of SLC6A4 methylation changes is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the role of maternal touch in moderating the association between increased SLC6A4 methylation and stress response in 3-month-old VPT infants. Twenty-nine dyads were enrolled and at 3 months (age corrected for prematurity), participated in the Face-to-Face Still-Face paradigm to measure infants’ stress response (i.e., negative emotionality) and the amount of maternal touch (i.e., dynamic and static). Results showed that low level of maternal touch is associated with high level of negative emotionality during social stress. Furthermore, during NICU stay SLC6A4 methylation in VPT exposed to low level of maternal touch at 3 months was associated with increased negative emotionality. Thus, low levels of maternal static touch can intensify the negative effects of SLC6A4 epigenetic changes on stress response in 3-month-old VPT infants.
DNA methylation; SLC6A4; maternal touch; negative emotionality; serotonin transporter gene; stress response; very preterm infants
Settore MED/38 - Pediatria Generale e Specialistica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/906056
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