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[Online ahead of print]

Maternal B12, Folate and Homocysteine Concentrations and Offspring Cortisol and Cardiovascular Responses to Stress

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Maternal B12, Folate and Homocysteine Concentrations and Offspring Cortisol and Cardiovascular Responses to Stress

G V Krishnaveni et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.

Abstract

Context: Imbalances in maternal one-carbon nutrients (vitamin B12, folate) have been shown to be associated with higher offspring cardiometabolic risk markers in India.

Objective: We examined the hypothesis that low plasma vitamin B12 (B12), and high folate and homocysteine concentrations in the mother are associated with higher hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (cortisol) and cardiovascular responses during the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) in an Indian birth cohort.

Methods: Adolescents (n=264; mean age: 13.6 y), whose mothers' plasma B12, folate and total homocysteine concentrations had been measured during pregnancy, completed 5-minutes each of public speaking and mental arithmetic tasks in front of two unfamiliar 'judges' (TSST-C). Baseline and post-stress salivary cortisol concentrations were measured. Heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were measured continuously at baseline, during the TSST-C, and for 10-minutes after the TSST-C using a finger cuff; beat-to-beat values were averaged for these periods respectively. Results: Maternal low B12 status (plasma B12<150 pmol/L) was associated with greater cortisol responses to stress in the offspring (p<0.001). Higher homocysteine concentrations were associated with greater offspring heart rate response (p<0.001). After adjustment for multiple comparisons, there were non-significant associations between higher maternal folate concentrations and offspring total peripheral resistance response (p=0.01).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that maternal one-carbon nutritional status may have long-term programming implications for offspring neuro-endocrine stress responses.

Keywords: B12 deficiency; adolescent; cortisol; folate; homocysteine; stress response.

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