Fetal and Maternal Genetic Variants Influencing Neonatal Vitamin D Status

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;102(11):4072-4079. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00827.


Objective: Several genetic polymorphisms determine vitamin D status. We aimed to estimate the strength of association of established 25-hydroyxvitamin D (25OHD)-associated variants in the mother and in the fetus, with 25OHD concentration in newborn umbilical cord plasma.

Methods: We randomly selected 578 mother and child dyads from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study. 25OHD was assayed in maternal samples taken shortly after delivery and in cord samples. We genotyped the mother and child for single nucleotide polymorphisms in or near GC, DHCR7, CYP2R1, and CYP24A1, previously confirmed to be associated with 25OHD, and computed genetic risk score (GRS). The genetic associations were replicated in an independent sample of 594 subjects.

Results: Although both fetal and maternal GRS were associated with cord 25OHD, only fetal GRS remained significantly associated with cord 25OHD in a regression model with maternal and fetal GRS simultaneously (1.6 nmol/L per fetal 25OHD-increasing allele; 95% confidence interval, 0.6 to 2.5, P = 0.0001). Two fetal single nucleotide polymorphisms in the GC gene (rs2282679 and rs222040) were the strongest genetic predictors of cord 25OHD [4.0 (2.1 to 5.9) and 3.0 (1.3 to 4.8) nmol/L per fetal allele, P < 0.001], followed by rs12785878 in DHCR7 [2.0 (0.1 to 3.8) nmol/L, P = 0.037]. The independent replication sample gave similar results. With fetal genotype included in a regression model with environmental factors, R2 for cord 25OHD was 0.28.

Conclusions: We show that fetal 25OHD-modifying genotype was a stronger predictor of cord 25OHD than corresponding maternal genotype. This raises interesting questions about fetal acquisition and placental transfer of 25OHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / genetics
  • Mothers
  • Nutritional Status / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / congenital*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D