The placenta is a transient organ of pregnancy that supports fetal growth and organ development. Placental dysfunction underlies many developmental defects, but this connection is poorly understood. Furthermore, many neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, are linked to altered brain development and are more common in men than women for unknown reasons. In this episode, Derek and Dan talk about a new paper that explores a new role for the placenta in autism spectrum disorder and how secreted placental hormones can influence brain development and even explain certain sex differences in autism. Understanding how early developmental events can affect sex-specific development gives insight to potential therapeutic interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders.
Vacher et al. Placental endocrine function shapes cerebellar development and social behavior. Nature Neuroscience, October 2021. DOI: 10.1038/s41593-021-00896-4
The information presented here is not medical advice. Consult your physician on any questions regarding your personal health.