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In this large, population-based, prospective, mother-offspring cohort study, maternal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) status during pregnancy was found to be positively associated with bone mass in the offspring at age 4 years. The findings suggest that variation in intrauterine exposure to n-3 and n-6 LCPUFAs may have potential consequences for skeletal development.Maternal diet in pregnancy has been linked to childhood bone mass, but the mechanisms and nutrients involved are uncertain. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) have been shown to affect bone metabolism, but the relationship between maternal fatty acid status and bone mass in the offspring remains unknown.We evaluated the association between maternal LCPUFA status in late pregnancy (34 weeks gestation) and bone density in their children at age 4 years within 727 mother-child pairs taking part in the Southampton Women's Survey.Concentrations of the n-3 LCPUFA component of maternal plasma phosphatidylcholine were positively associated with a number of bone mineral measures at the age of 4 years; these associations persisted after adjustment for maternal body build, walking speed and infant feeding. Relationships were most evident for eicosapentaenoic acid (r = 0.09, p = 0.02 for whole body areal bone mineral density [aBMD] and r = 0.1, p = 0.008 for lumbar spine aBMD) and for docosapentaenoic acid (r = 0.09, p = 0.02 for whole body aBMD and r = 0.12, p = 0.002 for lumbar spine aBMD).These findings suggest that variation in early exposure to n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA may have potential consequences for bone development and that the effects appear to persist into early childhood.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00198-011-1860-2

Type

Journal article

Journal

Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA

Publication Date

09/2012

Volume

23

Pages

2359 - 2367

Addresses

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK.

Keywords

SWS Study Group, Lumbar Vertebrae, Humans, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Eicosapentaenoic Acid, Fatty Acids, Unsaturated, Fatty Acids, Omega-6, Absorptiometry, Photon, Follow-Up Studies, Prospective Studies, Calcification, Physiologic, Bone Development, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Bone Density, Adult, Child, Preschool, Female, Whole Body Imaging, Young Adult