Observational epidemiological studies indicate that maternal height is associated with gestational age at birth and fetal growth measures (i.e., shorter mothers deliver infants at earlier gestational ages with lower birth weight and birth length). Different mechanisms have been postulated to explain these associations. This study aimed to investigate the casual relationships behind the strong association of maternal height with fetal growth measures (i.e., birth length and birth weight) and gestational age by a Mendelian randomization approach.
We conducted a Mendelian randomization analysis using phenotype and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data of 3,485 mother/infant pairs from birth cohorts collected from three Nordic countries (Finland, Denmark, and Norway). We constructed a genetic score based on 697 SNPs known to be associated with adult height to index maternal height. To avoid confounding due to genetic sharing between mother and infant, we inferred parental transmission of the height-associated SNPs and utilized the haplotype genetic score derived from nontransmitted alleles as a valid genetic instrument for maternal height. In observational analysis, maternal height was significantly associated with birth length (p = 6.31 ? 10-9), birth weight (p = 2.19 ? 10-15), and gestational age (p = 1.51 ? 10-7). Our parental-specific haplotype score association analysis revealed that birth length and birth weight were significantly associated with the maternal transmitted haplotype score as well as the paternal transmitted haplotype score. Their association with the maternal nontransmitted haplotype score was far less significant, indicating a major fetal genetic influence on these fetal growth measures. In contrast, gestational age was significantly associated with the nontransmitted haplotype score (p = 0.0424) and demonstrated a significant (p = 0.0234) causal effect of every 1 cm increase in maternal height resulting in ~0.4 more gestational d. Limitations of this study include potential influences in causal inference by biological pleiotropy, assortative mating, and the nonrandom sampling of study subjects.
Our results demonstrate that the observed association between maternal height and fetal growth measures (i.e., birth length and birth weight) is mainly defined by fetal genetics. In contrast, the association between maternal height and gestational age is more likely to be causal. In addition, our approach that utilizes the genetic score derived from the nontransmitted maternal haplotype as a genetic instrument is a novel extension to the Mendelian randomization methodology in casual inference between parental phenotype (or exposure) and outcomes in offspring.
Health authorities in numerous countries recommend periconceptional folic acid supplementation to prevent neural tube defects. The objective of this study was to examine the association of dietary folate intake and folic acid supplementation during different periods of pregnancy with the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (PTD).
The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study is a population-based prospective cohort study. A total of 66,014 women with singleton pregnancies resulting in live births in 2002-2009 were included. Folic acid supplementation was self-reported from 26 weeks before pregnancy until pregnancy week 24. At gestational week 22, the women completed a food frequency questionnaire, which allowed the calculation of their average total folate intake from foods and supplements for the first 4-5 months of pregnancy. Spontaneous PTD was defined as the spontaneous onset of delivery between weeks 22+0 and 36+6 (n = 1,755).
The median total folate intake was 313 µg/d (interquartile range IQR 167-558) in the overall population and 530 µg/d (IQR 355-636) in the supplement users. Eighty-five percent reported any folic acid supplementation from
Health authorities in numerous countries recommend periconceptional folic acid to pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects. The objective of this study was to examine the association of folic acid supplementation during different periods of pregnancy and of dietary folate intake with the risk of spontaneous preterm delivery (PTD).
The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study is a population-based prospective cohort study. A total of 65,668 women with singleton pregnancies resulting in live births in 1999-2009 were included. Folic acid supplementation was self-reported from 26 weeks before pregnancy until week 24 during pregnancy. At gestational week 22, the women completed a food frequency questionnaire, which allowed the calculation of their average total folate intake from foods and supplements for the first 4-5 months of pregnancy. Spontaneous PTD was defined as the spontaneous onset of delivery between weeks 22+0 and 36+6 (n?=?1,628).
The median total folate intake was 266 µg/d (interquartile range IQR 154-543) in the overall population and 540 µg/d (IQR 369-651) in the supplement users. Eighty-three percent reported any folic acid supplementation from
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Five-to-eighteen percent of pregnancies worldwide end in preterm birth, which is the major cause of neonatal death and morbidity. Approximately 30% of the variation in gestational age at birth can be attributed to genetic factors. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have not shown robust evidence of association with genomic loci yet.
We separately investigated 1921 Norwegian mothers and 1199 children from pregnancies with spontaneous onset of delivery. Individuals were further divided based on the onset of delivery: initiated by labor or prelabor rupture of membranes. Genetic association with ultrasound-dated gestational age was evaluated using three genetic models and adaptive permutations. The top-ranked loci were tested for enrichment in 12 candidate gene-sets generated by text-mining PubMed abstracts containing pregnancy-related keywords.
The six GWAS did not reveal significant associations, with the most extreme empirical p = 5.1 × 10-7. The top loci from maternal GWAS with deliveries initiated by labor showed significant enrichment in 10 PubMed gene-sets, e.g., p = 0.001 and 0.005 for keywords "uterus" and "preterm" respectively. Enrichment signals were mainly caused by infection/inflammation-related genes TLR4, NFKB1, ABCA1, MMP9. Literature-informed analysis of top loci revealed further immunity genes: IL1A, IL1B, CAMP, TREM1, TFRC, NFKBIA, MEFV, IRF8, WNT5A.
Our analyses support the role of inflammatory pathways in determining pregnancy duration and provide a list of 32 candidate genes for a follow-up work. We observed that the top regions from GWAS in mothers with labor-initiated deliveries significantly more often overlap with pregnancy-related genes than would be expected by chance, suggesting that increased sample size would benefit similar studies.
Erratum In: PLoS One. 2016 Oct 19;11(10 ):e016532827760235
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Cites: Science. 2014 Aug 15;345(6198):760-525124429
To study the association between maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and the child's weight gain and overweight risk up to 8 years.
Prospective nationwide pregnancy cohort.
The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.
A total of 50?943 mothers recruited from 2002 to 2008 and their children, after singleton pregnancies, with information about average caffeine intake assessed at mid-pregnancy.
Child's body size information at 11 age points from 6 weeks to 8 years. We defined excess growth in infancy as a WHO weight gain z-score of >0.67 from birth to age 1?year, and overweight according to the International Obesity Task Force. We used a growth model to assess individual growth trajectories.
Compared with pregnant women with low caffeine intake (200?mg/day had consistently higher weight. Very high caffeine exposures were associated with higher weight gain velocity from infancy to age 8 years.
Any caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of excess infant growth and of childhood overweight, mainly at preschool ages. Maternal caffeine intake may modify the overall weight growth trajectory of the child from birth to 8 years. This study adds supporting evidence for the current advice to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Pregnant women consume caffeine daily. The aim of this study was to examine the association between maternal caffeine intake from different sources and (a) gestational length, particularly the risk for spontaneous preterm delivery (PTD), and (b) birth weight (BW) and the baby being small for gestational age (SGA).
This study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. A total of 59,123 women with uncomplicated pregnancies giving birth to a live singleton were identified. Caffeine intake from different sources was self-reported at gestational weeks 17, 22 and 30. Spontaneous PTD was defined as spontaneous onset of delivery between 22+0 and 36+6 weeks (n = 1,451). As there is no consensus, SGA was defined according to ultrasound-based (Marsal, n = 856), population-based (Skjaerven, n = 4,503) and customized (Gardosi, n = 4,733) growth curves.
The main caffeine source was coffee, but tea and chocolate were the main sources in women with low caffeine intake. Median pre-pregnancy caffeine intake was 126 mg/day (IQR 40 to 254), 44 mg/day (13 to 104) at gestational week 17 and 62 mg/day (21 to 130) at gestational week 30. Coffee caffeine, but not caffeine from other sources, was associated with prolonged gestation (8 h/100 mg/day, P
Preterm delivery (PTD) is the leading cause of neonatal mortality worldwide, yet its etiology remains largely unexplained. We propose that the genetic factors controlling this trait could act in a nonuniform manner during pregnancy, with each factor having a unique "window of sensitivity." We test this hypothesis by modeling the distribution of gestational ages (GAs) observed in maternal cousins from the Swedish Medical Birth Register (MBR) (n = 35,541 pairs). The models were built using a time-to-event framework, with simulated genetic factors that increase the hazard of birth either uniformly across the pregnancy (constant effect) or only in particular windows (varying effect). By including various combinations of these factors, we obtained four models that were then optimized and compared. Best fit to the clinical data was observed when most of the factors had time-variant effects, independently of the number of loci simulated. Finally, power simulations were performed to assess the ability to discover varying-effect loci by usual methods for genome-wide association testing. We believe that the tools and concepts presented here should prove useful for the design of future studies of PTD and provide new insights into the genetic architecture determining human GA.
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Oct;124(10):1608-1615 PMID 27120296