Background and aims: Maternal polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels are associated with cord blood lipid and insulin levels. Not much is known about the influence of maternal PUFAs during pregnancy on long-term offspring lipid and insulin metabolism. We examined the associations of maternal plasma n-3 and n-6 PUFA levels during pregnancy with childhood lipid and insulin levels. Methods and results: In a population-based prospective cohort study, among 3230 mothers and their children, we measured maternal second trimester n-3 and n-6 PUFA plasma levels. At the median age of 6.0 years (95% range, 5.6-7.9), we measured childhood total-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, triglyceride, insulin and c-peptide levels. Higher maternal total n-3 PUFA levels, and specifically DHA levels, were associated with higher childhood total-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and insulin levels (p-values <0.05), but not with LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Maternal total n-6 PUFA levels were not associated with childhood outcomes, but higher levels of the individual n-6 PUFAs, EDA and DGLA were associated with a lower childhood HDL-cholesterol, and higher AA levels with higher childhood total-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol levels (all p-values <0.05). A higher maternal n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio was only associated with lower childhood HDL-cholesterol and insulin levels (p-values <0.05). These associations were not explained by childhood body mass index. Conclusions: Higher maternal total n-3 PUFAs and specifically DHA levels during pregnancy are associated with higher childhood total-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and insulin levels. Only individual maternal n-6 PUFAs, not total maternal n-6 PUFA levels, tended to be associated with childhood lipid and insulin levels.

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Keywords Children, Cohort, Insulin level, Lipid level, Polyunsaturated fatty acid, Pregnancy
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Journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/289346 - Long-term effects of early nutrition on later health (EarlyNutrition)
Vidakovic, A.J, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Voortman, R.G, Demmelmair, H, Koletzko, B, & Gaillard, R. (2017). Maternal plasma polyunsaturated fatty acid levels during pregnancy and childhood lipid and insulin levels. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, 27(1), 78–85. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2016.10.001