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Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 224, Issue 5, pp 1885–1895 | Cite as

Maternal sensitivity predicts anterior hippocampal functional networks in early childhood

  • Qiang Wang
  • Han Zhang
  • Chong-Yaw Wee
  • Annie Lee
  • Joann S. Poh
  • Yap-Seng Chong
  • Kok Hian Tan
  • Peter D. Gluckman
  • Fabian Yap
  • Marielle V. Fortier
  • Anne Rifkin-Graboi
  • Anqi QiuEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Maternal care influences child hippocampal development. The hippocampus is functionally organized along an anterior–posterior axis. Little is known with regards to the extent maternal care shapes offspring anterior and posterior hippocampal (aHPC, pHPC) functional networks. This study examined maternal behavior, especially maternal sensitivity, at 6 months postpartum in relation to aHPC and pHPC functional networks of children at age 4 and 6 years. Maternal sensitivity was assessed at 6 months via the “Maternal Behavior Q Sort (MBQS) mini for video”. Subsequently, 61 and 76 children underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), respectively, at 4 and 6 years of age. We found that maternal sensitivity assessed at 6 months postpartum was associated with the right aHPC functional networks in children at both 4 and 6 years of age. At age 4 years, maternal sensitivity was associated positively with the right aHPC’s functional connectivity with the sensorimotor network and negatively with the aHPC’s functional connectivity with the top–down cognitive control network. At 6 years of age, maternal sensitivity was linked positively with the right aHPC’s functional connectivity with the visual-processing network. Our findings suggested that maternal sensitivity in infancy has a long-term impact on the anterior hippocampal functional network in preschool children, implicating a potential role of maternal care in shaping child brain development in early life.

Keywords

Resting-state fMRI Maternal sensitivity Anterior hippocampus Posterior hippocampus Functional networks 

Notes

Funding

This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Flagship Programme and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Singapore- NMRC/TCR/004-NUS/2008; NMRC/TCR/012-NUHS/2014. Additional funding is provided by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Ministry of Education (Academic research fund tier 1; NUHSRO/2017/052/T1-SRP-Partnership/01), and NUS Institute of Data Science, Singapore.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethnical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

429_2019_1882_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 4342 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiang Wang
    • 1
  • Han Zhang
    • 1
  • Chong-Yaw Wee
    • 1
  • Annie Lee
    • 1
  • Joann S. Poh
    • 1
  • Yap-Seng Chong
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kok Hian Tan
    • 4
  • Peter D. Gluckman
    • 2
    • 5
  • Fabian Yap
    • 8
  • Marielle V. Fortier
    • 6
  • Anne Rifkin-Graboi
    • 7
  • Anqi Qiu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering and Clinical Imaging Research CenterNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Singapore Institute for Clinical SciencesSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of Singapore, National University Health SystemSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Department of Maternal–Fetal Medicine, KK Women’s and Children’s HospitalSingapore (KKH)SingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Liggins InstituteUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  6. 6.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging, KK Women’s and Children’s HospitalSingapore (KKH)SingaporeSingapore
  7. 7.Office of Education Research, Centre for Research in Child Development, Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technical UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  8. 8.Department of PaediatricsKK Women’s and Children’s HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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