Background: Maternal fatty acid status during pregnancy might influence foetal immunological development and subsequently the risk of childhood atopic diseases.
Objective: To examine the associations of maternal fatty acid levels during pregnancy with airway resistance and inflammation, asthma and eczema, in school-age children.
Methods: This study among 4976 subjects was embedded in a population-based prospective cohort study. We measured maternal plasma glycerophospholipid fatty acid levels by gas chromatography during the second trimester of pregnancy. At the age of 6 years, airway resistance and inflammation were measured by interrupter technique (Rint) and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and current physician-diagnosed asthma and eczema were assessed by ISAAC-based questionnaires. Multiple linear and logistic regression models were adjusted for socio-demographic, lifestyle and anthropometric factors.
Results: We did not observe consistent associations of maternal total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), total n-6 PUFA, total n-3 PUFA levels and n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio during pregnancy with child's Rint and FeNO. Higher maternal total PUFA and total n-6 PUFA levels were associated with a decreased risk of childhood asthma and with an increased risk of childhood eczema. The observed associations were partly explained by Linoleic acid levels. Maternal total n-3 PUFA levels and n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio were not associated with current asthma and eczema. The observed associations were not explained by child's PUFA intake.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Higher maternal total PUFA and total n-6 PUFA levels during pregnancy seem to influence the risk of atopic diseases in childhood. The underlying mechanisms need to be further explored.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Asthma, Child, Cohort study, Eczema, Fractional exhaled nitric oxide, Maternal fatty acids, Pregnancy, Rint
Persistent URL,
Journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy
Rucci, E, den Dekker, H.T, de Jongste, J.C, Steenweg-de Graaff, J.C.J, Gaillard, R, Pasmans, S.G.M.A, … Duijts, L. (2016). Maternal fatty acid levels during pregnancy, childhood lung function and atopic diseases. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 46(3), 461–471. doi:10.1111/cea.12613