2021 journal article
Associations between maternal obesity, gestational cytokine levels and child obesity in the NEST cohort
PEDIATRIC OBESITY, 16(7).
Although maternal systemic inflammation is hypothesized to link maternal pre-pregnancy obesity to offspring metabolic dysfunction, patient empirical data are limited.In this study, we hypothesized that pre-pregnancy obesity alters systemic chemo/cytokines concentrations in pregnancy, and this alteration contributes to obesity in children.In a multi-ethnic cohort of 361 mother-child pairs, we measured prenatal concentrations of plasma TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β, IL-4, IFN-γ, IL-12 p70 subunit, and IL-17A using a multiplex ELISA and examined associations of pre-pregnancy obesity on maternal chemo/cytokine levels, and associations of these cytokine levels with offspring body mass index z score (BMI-z) at age 2-6 years using linear regression.After adjusting for maternal smoking, ethnicity, age, and education, pre-pregnancy obesity was associated with increased concentrations of TNF-α (P = .026) and IFN-γ (P = .06). While we found no evidence for associations between TNF-α concentrations and offspring BMI-z, increased IFN-γ concentrations were associated with decreased BMI-z (P = .0002), primarily in Whites (P = .0011). In addition, increased maternal IL-17A concentrations were associated with increased BMI-z in offspring (P = .0005) with stronger associations in African Americans (P = .0042) than Whites (P = .24).Data from this study are consistent with maternal obesity-related inflammation during pregnancy, increasing the risk of childhood obesity in an ethnic-specific manner.