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Antidepressants during pregnancy: underlying mechanisms associated with neurodevelopmental outcome

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "depreg" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Broerstraat 5
postcode: 9712CP

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 177˙598 €
 EC max contribution 177˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2014
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-06-01   to  2017-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Depressive symptoms frequently occur during pregnancy and may have a tremendous impact on the developing child. Unfortunately, pharmacological antidepressant treatments during pregnancy can negatively impact behavioral development and health of the offspring. In humans it is difficult to discern between the effects of the drug and the effects of the depression itself, therefore it is unclear whether children exposed to antidepressants in utero are at increased risk, and if so, what the underlying molecular mechanisms are that may point to potential solutions.

My overall aim is to identify molecular mechanisms and behavioral alterations in the offspring due to antenatal depression, antidepressant treatment during pregnancy, and their combination. To achieve this goal I will use an advanced rat model for depression to allow an experimental approach. I will identify the effects of antenatal depression, antidepressant treatment during pregnancy, and their combination on: (1) behavior of the offspring, (2) gene expression patterns with micro-array in the fetal brain, and (3) epigenetic profile of genes from the micro-array in adult brain and blood plasma.

So far, Genome Wide Association Studies have not yielded new targets for the treatment of depressed (pregnant) patients. The outcome of this study will not only advance our knowledge on genes underlying the alterations found in brain and blood of the offspring due to antenatal depression, antidepressant treatment and their combination, but will also reveal early biomarkers as the epigenetic profile for the altered genes are studied. Ultimately, the results of this project will be beneficial for human health as it will open up new avenues for biomedical research and therapeutic applications.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Danielle J. Houwing, Bauke Buwalda, Eddy A. van der Zee, Sietse F. de Boer, Jocelien D. A. Olivier
The Serotonin Transporter and Early Life Stress: Translational Perspectives
published pages: , ISSN: 1662-5102, DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00117
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11 2019-07-24
2017 Sahar El Aidy, Anouschka S. Ramsteijn, Francisco Dini-Andreote, Roel van Eijk, Danielle J. Houwing, Joana F. Salles, Jocelien D. A. Olivier
Serotonin Transporter Genotype Modulates the Gut Microbiota Composition in Young Rats, an Effect Augmented by Early Life Stress
published pages: , ISSN: 1662-5102, DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2017.00222
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 11 2019-07-24

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