Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Obes (Lond). 2018 Apr;42(4):608-617. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.256. Epub 2017 Oct 13.

Associations of maternal and cord blood adipokines with offspring adiposity in Project Viva: is there an interaction with child age?

Author information

Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse (CoRAL), Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA, USA.
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore.
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.
Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Diabetes Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



Higher leptin and lower adiponectin correlate with adult and childhood adiposity, but it is unclear how exposure to these adipokines during gestation relates to offspring growth. We aimed to investigate the relationships of maternal and cord adipokines with offspring adiposity across childhood to early adolescence, as well as interactions with child age.


In mother-child pairs in the Project Viva cohort, we measured adipokines in mothers at second trimester (n=1106) and in cord blood at birth (n=657). We measured offspring adiposity indices at early childhood (mean 3.3±s.d. 0.3 years), mid-childhood (7.9±0.8 years) and early adolescence (13.2±0.9 years). We analyzed associations of maternal and cord adipokines with offspring longitudinal adiposity using a linear mixed model adjusting for pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), gestational weight gain (GWG), and other confounders.


Mothers with higher BMI and GWG had higher leptin. Offspring born to mothers with the highest vs lowest quartile of leptin had lower BMI z-score (-0.49 units, 95% confidence interval (CI):-0.72,-0.26), waist circumference (-2.6 cm, 95% CI: -3.7,-1.5) and sum of subscapular and triceps skinfolds (-2.8 mm, 95% CI: -4.1,-1.4) in early life. An interaction term between maternal leptin and child age was positive, suggesting that the associations between maternal leptin and child adiposity were not constant over time. Offspring born to mothers with lowest vs highest quartile of maternal adiponectin had lower early life adiposity (BMI z-score -0.27 units, 95% CI: -0.48,-0.05). Results were similar for cord leptin but not cord adiponectin.


Our findings showed higher maternal and cord leptin, and lower maternal adiponectin are associated with lower offspring adiposity from childhood to early adolescence, independent of maternal BMI and GWG. However, the strength of these associations was not constant over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center