Cord metabolic profiles in obese pregnant women: Insights into offspring growth and body composition

Nashita Patel, Christian Hellmuth, Olaf Uhl, Keith Godfrey, Annette Briley, Paul Welsh, Dharmintra Pasupathy, Paul T. Seed, Berthold Koletzko, Lucilla Poston, UPBEAT Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Offspring exposed in utero to maternal obesity have an increased risk of later obesity; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Objective: To assess the effect of an antenatal lifestyle intervention in obese women on the offspring's cord blood metabolic profile and to examine associations of the cord blood metabolic profile with maternal clinical characteristics and offspring anthropometry at birth and age 6 months. Design: Randomized controlled trial and cohort study. Setting: The UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial. Participants: Three hundred forty-four mother-offspring pairs. Intervention: Antenatal behavioral lifestyle (diet and physical activity) intervention. Main Outcome Measures: Targeted cord blood metabolic profile, including candidate hormone and metabolomic analyses. Results: The lifestyle intervention was not associated with change in the cord blood metabolic profile. Higher maternal glycemia, specifically fasting glucose at 28 weeks gestation, had a linear association with higher cord blood concentrations of lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) 16.1 (b = 0.65; 95% confidence interval: 0.03 to 0.10) and 18.1 (0.52; 0.02 to 0.80), independent of the lifestyle intervention. A principal component of cord blood phosphatidylcholines and LPCs was associated with infant z scores of birth weight (0.04; 0.02 to 0.07) and weight at age 6 months (0.05; 0.00 to 0.10). Cord blood insulin growth factor (IGF)-1 and adiponectin concentrations were positively associated with infant weight z score at birth and at 6 months. Conclusions: Concentrations of LPCs and IGF-1 in cord blood are related to infant weight. These findings support the hypothesis that susceptibility to childhood obesity may be programmed in utero, but further investigation is required to establishwhether these associations are causally related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-355
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial Support: This work was supported by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013), project EarlyNutrition under grant 289346, the Action Medical Research Council (GN2456), National Institute for Health Research Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (RP-0407-10452), the European Research Council Advanced Grant META-GROWTH (ERC-2012-AdG; no. 322605), the Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London, the Chief Scientist Office Scotland, Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity and Tommy’s Charity (registered charity no. 1060508), and the National Institute for Health Research through the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (to K.G.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Endocrine Society.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Growth
  • Growth hormone
  • Growth factors


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