Objectives To identify whether children with antenatal prednisone exposure have chronically elevated cortisol and cortisone concentrations, an altered body composition or higher blood pressure. In addition, to identify whether maternal rheumatoid arthritis disease (RA) activity is associated with these alterations. Methods In this prospective study, 56 children (mean age=10.0 years) with and 61 children (mean age=9.6 years) without antenatal prednisone exposure, born to women with RA, were included. Hair cortisol and cortisone were analysed using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Linear regression models were built to analyse differences between the two groups, corrected for relevant covariates. Hair cortisol concentrations were also compared between the study population and an age-matched healthy reference group(n=150 children, mean age=9.8 years). Results Hair cortisol and cortisone concentrations were similar in children with and without antenatal prednisone exposure (median cortisol 1.14 pg/mg (IQR 0.67–1.75) and 1.15 pg/mg (IQR 0.65–2.21) and median cortisone 6.76 pg/mg (IQR 5.42–8.86) and 7.40 pg/mg (IQR 5.39–10.73), respectively). Antenatal prednisone exposure and maternal RA disease activity were also not associated with body composition or blood pressure. Hair cortisol concentrations were not different in children born to mothers with RA compared with children from the reference group. Conclusion This, in its kind, large and unique long-term prospective study demonstrates that low-dose antenatal prednisone exposure and maternal RA disease activity are not associated with negative consequences in prepubertal childhood. The findings of this study are reassuring and support the assumption that low-dose maternal prednisone use during pregnancy is safe for the offspring, at least until the age of approximately 10 years.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/rmdopen-2018-000852, hdl.handle.net/1765/116954
Journal RMD Open
Ince-Askan, H, van den Akker, E.L.T, de Rijke, Y.B, van Rossum, E.F.C, Hazes, J.M.W, & Dolhain, R.J.E.M. (2019). Associations between antenatal prednisone exposure and long-term cortisol and cortisone concentrations in children born to women with rheumatoid arthritis: results from a nationwide prospective cohort study. RMD Open, 5(1). doi:10.1136/rmdopen-2018-000852