Association between polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations in maternal plasma phospholipids during pregnancy and offspring adiposity at age 7: the MEFAB cohort

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2014 Sep;91(3):81-5. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2014.04.002. Epub 2014 Apr 25.


Prenatal polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentrations may be involved in the prenatal programming of adiposity. In this study we therefore explored the association between maternal PUFA concentrations, measured up to four times during pregnancy, and offspring adiposity at age 7 in 234 mother-child pairs of the Maastricht Essential Fatty Acid Birth cohort. Only dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA, an n-6 fatty acid) concentration was associated with adiposity: per standard deviation increase in relative DGLA concentration, BMI increased by 0.44kg/m(2) (CI95: 0.16, 0.72), sum of skinfolds increased by 3.41mm (CI95: 1.88, 4.95), waist circumference increased by 1.09cm (CI95: 0.40, 1.78), and plasma leptin concentration increased by 0.66µg/l (CI95: 0.20, 1.11). In conclusion, maternal DGLA throughout gestation was associated with increased BMI and some additional measures of adiposity at age 7. This suggests that maternal DGLA might play a role in or reflect the prenatal programming of adiposity.

Keywords: Childhood adiposity; Childhood obesity; Essential fatty acids; Fetal origins; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Prental programming.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid / blood*
  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology*
  • Pregnancy / blood*


  • 8,11,14-Eicosatrienoic Acid