Gestational hypertensive disorders may lead to vascular changes in the offspring. We examined the associations of maternal blood pressure development and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy with microvasculature adaptations in the offspring in childhood. This study was performed as part of the Generation R Study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2002-2012), among 3,748 pregnant mothers and their children for whom information was available on maternal blood pressure in different periods of pregnancy and gestational hypertensive disorders. Childhood retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were assessed at the age of 6 years. We found that higher maternal systolic and diastolic blood pressures in early pregnancy were associated with childhood retinal arteriolar narrowing (P < 0.05). Higher maternal systolic blood pressure in late pregnancy, but not in middle pregnancy, was associated with childhood narrower retinal venular caliber (standard deviation score per standardized residual increase in systolic blood pressure: -0.05; 95% confidence interval: -0.08, -0.01). Paternal blood pressure was not associated with childhood retinal vessel calibers. Children of mothers with gestational hypertensive disorders tended to have narrower retinal arteriolar caliber (standard deviation score: -0.13, 95% confidence interval: -0.27, 0.01). Our results suggest that higher maternal blood pressure during pregnancy is associated with persistent microvasculature adaptations in their children. Further studies are needed to replicate these observations.

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American Journal of Epidemiology
Generation R Study Group

Yesil, G.D. (Gizem Dilan), Gishti, O., Felix, J., Reiss, I., Ikram, K., Steegers, E., … Gaillard, R. (2016). Influence of Maternal Gestational Hypertensive Disorders on Microvasculature in School-Age Children. American Journal of Epidemiology, 184(9), 605–615. doi:10.1093/aje/kww059