Somatic effects of diethylstilbestrol on children exposed in utero have long been recognized. This is not the case for psychiatric disorders, although animal studies provide evidence of somatic and behavioral disorders. Recent studies have reported psychiatric effects of synthetic estrogens on the brain of children exposed in utero as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depression, eating disorders, suicides, suicide attempts. Recently, a team of St. Anne’s Hospital, Paris (Prof. Krebs, Dr. Kebir) demonstrated the epigenetic mechanism of DES effect on the brain, a specific methylation of two genes playing important roles in neurodevelopment: the ADAM TS9 (control of the formation of reproductive organs and of the fetus’s CNS) and the ZFP 57 gene suggested to be associated with psychosis. Progestins used in contraception and in hormone replacement therapy are known to affect the adult brain, but no data on children existed before our recent paper on their effects after in utero exposure. Clinical data were collected from 1934 children of the Association of Patients HHORAGES cohort. Our data show the presence of somatic disorders and a drastic increase of psychiatric disorders among children in utero exposed to progestins. These mental disorders are the same as pathologies provoked by exposure to synthetic estrogens.
Part of the book: Psychopathology