Concentrations of immune marker in newborn dried blood spots and early childhood development: Results from the Upstate KIDS Study

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2018 Jul;32(4):337-345. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12485. Epub 2018 Jul 4.


Background: Evidence shows cytokine dysregulation in children with developmental disabilities. The association between immune activity during the perinatal period and child development is less clear.

Methods: We examined the relationship between newborn concentrations of immune markers and child development. Within Upstate KIDS, a population-based birth cohort (2008-2010, upstate New York), we assayed immune markers, which are postulated to have neuro-modulatory effects, in newborn dried blood spots (NDBS, n = 3038). Mothers completed the Ages & Stages Questionnaire© (ASQ) for their children repeatedly through age 36 months. At 30 and 36 months, mothers also reported whether their children received any developmental services. We used generalised linear mixed models adjusted for maternal and child characteristics to test associations.

Results: Sixteen immune markers were associated with failing ASQ in unadjusted models. After full adjustment (for gestational age, mode of delivery, parity, pregnancy smoking, etc.), we observed that higher levels of 4 markers, including platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF-AA, OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.67, 0.89), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.68, 0.94), stromal cell derived factor-1 (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.73, 0.98), and macrophage inflammatory protein-1beta (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.77, 0.98) were associated with lower odds of ASQ failure. The associations did not exist if correction for multiple comparisons was performed, except for PDGF-AA. Analyses with developmental service use revealed similar null findings.

Conclusions: Immune marker concentrations in NDBS may not be associated with developmental delay in the general population. Newborn concentrations of growth factor PDGF-AA may be protective of developmental delay in childhood.

Keywords: development; immune markers; longitudinal; neonates; population-based.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Developmental Disabilities / immunology
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • New York
  • Prospective Studies


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines