Heterogeneity in cord blood DHA concentration: Towards an explanation

B Muhlhausler, Robert Gibson, Lisa Yelland, Maria Makrides

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper aimed to identify the dietary and non-dietary determinants of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels in umbilical cord blood at delivery. DHA was measured in cord blood plasma phospholipids of 1571 participants from the DOMInO (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome) randomized controlled trial. Socioeconomic, lifestyle and clinical data relating to the mother and current pregnancy were obtained from all women and their relationships with cord blood DHA assessed. DHA concentrations in the cord plasma phospholipids at delivery covered a 3-4 fold range in both control and DHA groups. The total number of DHA-rich intervention supplement capsules consumed over the course of pregnancy and gestational age at delivery individually explained 21% and 16% respectively of the variation in DHA abundance in the cord blood plasma phospholipids at delivery, but no other clinical or life-style factors explored in this study could account for >2% of the variation. Indeed, more than 65% of the variation remained unaccounted for even when all factors were included in the analysis. These data suggest that factors other than maternal DHA intake have an important role in determining cord blood DHA concentrations at delivery, and may at least partially explain the variation in the response of infants to maternal DHA supplementation reported in published trials.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-140
    Number of pages6
    JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


    • Cord blood
    • DHA
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Pregnancy
    • Supplementation


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