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Higher pulse wave velocity (PWV) reflects increased arterial stiffness and is an established cardiovascular risk marker associated with lower long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake in adults. Experimentally, maternal fatty acid intake in pregnancy has lasting effects on offspring arterial stiffness.To examine the association between maternal consumption of oily fish, a source of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, in pregnancy and child's aortic stiffness age 9 years.In a mother-offspring study (Southampton Women's Survey), the child's descending aorta PWV was measured at the age of 9 years using velocity-encoded phase-contrast MRI and related to maternal oily fish consumption assessed prospectively during pregnancy. Higher oily fish consumption in late pregnancy was associated with lower childhood aortic PWV (sex-adjusted β=-0.084 m/s per portion per week; 95% confidence interval, -0.137 to -0.031; P=0.002; n=226). Mother's educational attainment was independently associated with child's PWV. PWV was not associated with the child's current oily fish consumption.Level of maternal oily fish consumption in pregnancy may influence child's large artery development, with potential long-term consequences for later cardiovascular risk.

Original publication




Journal article


Circulation research

Publication Date





1202 - 1205


From the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHSFT) (J.B., M.H., S.R., P.C.C., C.C., K.M.G.), MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (J.B., L.D., H.I., S.R., C.C., K.M.G.), and Human Development and Health Academic Unit, Faculty of Medicine (M.H., H.I., S.R., P.C.C., C.C., K.M.G.), University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom; and Department of Radiology (J.B., C.P.), UHSFT, Southampton, United Kingdom.


Animals, Fishes, Humans, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Birth Weight, Fatty Acids, Omega-3, Fish Oils, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Follow-Up Studies, Prospective Studies, Feeding Behavior, Smoking, Breast Feeding, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Pregnancy Trimester, Third, Socioeconomic Factors, Seafood, Adult, Child, Educational Status, Female, Male, Hemodynamics, Vascular Stiffness, Pulse Wave Analysis