Prematurity, Birth Weight, and Socioeconomic Status Are Linked to Atypical Diurnal Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Activity in Young Adults

Suzy Barcelos Winchester, Mary C. Sullivan, Mary B. Roberts, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a prospective, case-controlled longitudinal design, 180 preterm and fullterm infants who had been enrolled at birth participated in a comprehensive assessment battery at age 23. Of these, 149 young adults, 34 formerly full-term and 115 formerly preterm (22 healthy preterm, 48 with medical complications, 21 with neurological complications, and 24 small for gestational age) donated five saliva samples from a single day that were assayed for cortisol to assess diurnal variation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Analyses were conducted to determine whether prematurity category, birth weight, and socioeconomic status were associated with differences in HPA axis function. Pre- and perinatal circumstances associated with prematurity influenced the activity of this environmentally sensitive physiological system. Results are consistent with the theory of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and highlight a possible mechanism for the link between prematurity and health disparities later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Allostatic load
  • Disparities
  • Diurnal cortisol
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA)
  • Neonatal care
  • NICU
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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