A recent report published in PLOS ONE indicates that natural (vaginal) birth but not Caesarian section birth in mice triggers mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (Ucp2) expression in hippocampal neurons.
Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 is a critical determinant of fatty acid utilization by adult neurons and is involved in cell proliferation, neuroprotection and synaptogenesis in the adult brain.
The authors suggest that Ucp2 mRNA induction may be associated with hypoxia/ischemia that accompanies vaginal birth. In many countries Caesarian sections are performed in more than 30% of all births. This report is probably among the first to address and study in details, in experimental conditions, a possible relationship between natural birth and brain development.