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Preterm Delivery as a Predictor of Diurnal Cortisol Profiles in Adulthood: Evidence from Cebu, Philippines

Citation

Lee, James; Fried, Ruby; Thayer, Zaneta M.; & Kuzawa, Christopher W. (2014). Preterm Delivery as a Predictor of Diurnal Cortisol Profiles in Adulthood: Evidence from Cebu, Philippines. American Journal of Human Biology, 26(5), 598-602.

Abstract

Objectives: Fetal exposure to elevated maternal cortisol can permanently modify hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function, and thereby have long-term health impacts. Maternal cortisol steadily increases throughout normal pregnancy, but is abnormally high in preterm deliveries (<37 weeks). Prematurity remains a widespread public health problem, yet little is known about its potential long-term effects on adult HPA function. Here we test the hypothesis that diurnal cortisol profiles measured in young adulthood will vary based upon an individual's preterm status. Methods: Diurnal salivary cortisol profiles, a marker of HPA-axis function, were measured in 1,403 young adults (ages 21–23 years) participating in the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, located in Metropolitan Cebu City, Philippines. Results: Males who had been born preterm exhibited lower morning cortisol and non-significantly elevated evening cortisol, resulting in a more adverse, flatter rate of decline across the day. In contrast, there were no significant differences by preterm status in cortisol measured at any time of day in females. Conclusions: These findings point to potential long-term effects of having been born preterm on adult HPA-axis function, and add to evidence from this and other populations for sex differences in the biological and health impacts of prenatal stress exposure.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.22569

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2014

Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology

Author(s)

Lee, James
Fried, Ruby
Thayer, Zaneta M.
Kuzawa, Christopher W.