OBJECTIVE: This study investigated neonatal S100B levels as a biomarker of prenatal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) exposure.

METHODS: Maternal (delivery; N = 53) and neonatal (cord; N = 52) serum S100B levels were compared between prenatally SSRI-exposed (maternal, N = 36; neonatal, N = 37; duration: 230 ± 71 days) and nonexposed (maternal, N = 17; neonatal, N = 15) groups. Measures of maternal depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed during the third trimester (33–36 weeks), and neonatal outcomes, including Apgar scores, birth weight, gestational age at birth, and symptoms of poor neonatal adaptation, were recorded.

RESULTS: S100B levels were significantly lower in prenatally SSRI-exposed neonates than in nonexposed neonates, controlling for gestational age and third-trimester maternal mood (P = .036). In contrast, SSRI-exposed mothers had significantly higher maternal serum S100B levels, compared with nonexposed mothers (P = .014), even controlling for maternal mood in the third trimester. S100B levels were not associated with maternal or neonatal drug levels, duration of prenatal exposure, demographic variables, or risk for poor neonatal adaptation.

CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal SSRI exposure was associated with decreased neonatal serum S100B levels, controlling for prenatal maternal mood. Neonatal S100B levels did not reflect neonatal behavioral outcomes and were not related to pharmacologic indices. These findings are consistent with prenatal alcohol and cocaine exposures, which also alter central serotonin levels.

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