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Pediatrics. 2015 Jan;135(1):e167-73. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1860. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

Vitamin D in fetal development: findings from a birth cohort study.

Author information

1
Telethon Kids Institute, Prue.Hart@telethonkids.org.au.
2
Telethon Kids Institute, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia;
3
Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Australia; and School of Medicine and Pharmacology, and.
4
Telethon Kids Institute, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
5
Telethon Kids Institute.
6
Telethon Kids Institute, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia;

Abstract

Birth cohort studies provide an invaluable resource for studies of the influence of the fetal environment on health in later life. It is uncertain to what extent maternal vitamin D status influences fetal development. Using an unselected community-based cohort of 901 mother-offspring pairs (the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort [Raine] Study), we examined the relationship between maternal vitamin D deficiency at 18 weeks' pregnancy and long-term health outcomes of offspring who were born in Perth, Western Australia (32° South), in 1989-1991. Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] <50 nmol/L) was present in 36% (323 of 901) of the pregnant women. After adjusting for relevant covariates, maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy was associated with impaired lung development in 6-year-old offspring, neurocognitive difficulties at age 10, increased risk of eating disorders in adolescence, and lower peak bone mass at 20 years. In summary, vitamin D may have an important, multifaceted role in the development of fetal lungs, brain, and bone. Experimental animal studies support an active contribution of vitamin D to organ development. Randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women with long-term follow-up of offspring are urgently required to examine whether the correction of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women is beneficial for their offspring and to determine the optimal level of maternal serum 25(OH)D for fetal development.

KEYWORDS:

bones; brain; developmental origins of health and disease; lungs; pregnancy; vitamin D deficiency

PMID:
25511121
DOI:
10.1542/peds.2014-1860
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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