Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males

Omri Weisman, Esben Agerbo, C. Sue Carter, James C O Harris, Niels Uldbjerg, Tine B. Henriksen, Malene Thygesen, Preben B. Mortensen, James F. Leckman, Søren Dalsgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The use of synthetic oxytocin (OT) to induce and/or augment labor and delivery is on the rise. Maternal exposure to OT during birth may have adverse effects on the infant's development, including increased risk for autism. Yet, studies that test this biologically plausible association and whether it is modified by sex are limited and show inconsistent findings. To this end, we conducted an epidemiological analysis, including all singleton live births in Denmark between 2000 and 2009 (N= 557,040), with a follow-up through 2012. A total of 2110 children in this cohort were subsequently diagnosed with autistic disorder according to the ICD-10-DCR. Augmentation of labor with OT was modestly associated with an increased risk for autism in males (HR 1.13; 95% CI, 1.00-1.26; P= 0.04), but not in females (0.99; 0.77-1.27; P= 0.95). Among males exposed to OT augmentation, 560 were subsequently diagnosed with autistic disorder, and among those not exposed, 1177 met criteria for autism (incidence rate 103.2 and 81.4 per 100,000 person-years, respectively). Our findings suggest a modest association between OT-augmented labor and risk for autism in males. However, given the known benefits of using synthetic OT during labor and delivery caution is warranted when interpreting the findings. Future studies should also investigate dose-dependent effect of OT on infant's development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume284
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Fingerprint

Oxytocin
Autistic Disorder
Child Development
Maternal Exposure
Live Birth
International Classification of Diseases
Denmark
Parturition
Incidence

Keywords

  • Augmentation
  • Autism
  • Birth cohort
  • Gender bias
  • Labor
  • Pitocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Weisman, O., Agerbo, E., Carter, C. S., Harris, J. C. O., Uldbjerg, N., Henriksen, T. B., ... Dalsgaard, S. (2015). Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males. Behavioural Brain Research, 284, 207-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2015.02.028

Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males. / Weisman, Omri; Agerbo, Esben; Carter, C. Sue; Harris, James C O; Uldbjerg, Niels; Henriksen, Tine B.; Thygesen, Malene; Mortensen, Preben B.; Leckman, James F.; Dalsgaard, Søren.

In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 284, 01.05.2015, p. 207-212.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Weisman, O, Agerbo, E, Carter, CS, Harris, JCO, Uldbjerg, N, Henriksen, TB, Thygesen, M, Mortensen, PB, Leckman, JF & Dalsgaard, S 2015, 'Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males', Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 284, pp. 207-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2015.02.028
Weisman O, Agerbo E, Carter CS, Harris JCO, Uldbjerg N, Henriksen TB et al. Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males. Behavioural Brain Research. 2015 May 1;284:207-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2015.02.028
Weisman, Omri ; Agerbo, Esben ; Carter, C. Sue ; Harris, James C O ; Uldbjerg, Niels ; Henriksen, Tine B. ; Thygesen, Malene ; Mortensen, Preben B. ; Leckman, James F. ; Dalsgaard, Søren. / Oxytocin-augmented labor and risk for autism in males. In: Behavioural Brain Research. 2015 ; Vol. 284. pp. 207-212.
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