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Acta Paediatr. 2009 Jul;98(7):1168-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01292.x. Epub 2009 Apr 27.

Early-life nutritional and environmental determinants of thymic size in infants born in rural Bangladesh.

Author information

1
MRC Keneba, MRC Laboratories, Banju, The Gambia. Sophie.Moore@lshtm.ac.uk

Abstract

AIM:

The aim was to assess the impact of nutritional status and environmental exposures on infant thymic development in the rural Matlab region of Bangladesh.

METHODS:

In a cohort of N(max) 2094 infants born during a randomized study of combined interventions to improve maternal and infant health, thymic volume (thymic index, TI) was assessed by ultrasonography at birth and at 8, 24 and 52 weeks of age. Data on birth weight, infant anthropometry and feeding status were also collected.

RESULTS:

At all ages, TI was positively associated with infant weight and strongly associated with the month of measurement. Longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding resulted in a larger TI at 52 weeks. TI at birth and at 8 weeks correlated positively with birth weight, but by 24 and 52 weeks and when adjusted for infant weight this effect was no longer present. Thymic size was not affected by pre-natal maternal supplementation or by socioeconomic status but was correlated to arsenic exposure during pregnancy.

CONCLUSION:

In this population of rural Bangladeshi infants, thymic development is influenced by both nutritional and environmental exposures early in life. The long-term functional implications of these findings warrant further investigation.

PMID:
19432828
PMCID:
PMC2721967
DOI:
10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01292.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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