Increased Maternal Prenatal Adiposity, Inflammation, and Lower Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Influence Child Negative Affect

Hanna C. Gustafsson, Kathleen F. Holton, Ashley N. Anderson, Elizabeth K. Nousen, Ceri A. Sullivan, Jennifer M. Loftis, Joel T. Nigg, Elinor L. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Increased maternal adiposity during pregnancy is associated with offspring risk for psychiatric disorders. Inflammation secondary to adiposity is believed to be an important mechanism through which this effect occurs. Although increased adiposity introduces risk, not all children of overweight mothers develop these problems. Gestational factors that modify this risk are not well-understood. If maternal increased adiposity exerts its effects on offspring outcomes by increasing inflammation in the gestational environment, then anti-inflammatory inputs such as omega-3 fatty acids may be one protective factor. The goal of this study was to investigate whether maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and omega-3 fatty acid levels independently and/or interactively predicted offspring infant negative affect, an early life marker of risk for psychopathology. Methods: Data came from a prospective study of women recruited during pregnancy and their 6 month old infants (N = 62; 40% female). Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was pulled from medical charts and third trimester omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were assessed in plasma. Child negative affect was assessed using observer- and maternal-ratings at 6 months of age. Maternal inflammation was indexed by third trimester plasma levels of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. Results: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with increased infant negative affect whereas eicosapentaenoic acid was associated with less infant negative affect. Maternal omega-3 fatty acid levels moderated the effect of BMI on infant negative affect, such that omega-3 fatty acids buffered children against the negative consequences of increased adiposity. Supporting the role of maternal inflammation in these associations, maternal BMI and omega-3 fatty acid levels interacted to predict maternal third trimester inflammation. Further, maternal inflammation was associated with increased infant negative affect. Conclusion: Results suggest that omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy may protect against offspring behavioral risk associated with increased maternal adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1035
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Fingerprint

Adiposity
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Mothers
Inflammation
Body Mass Index
Pregnancy
Third Pregnancy Trimester
Eicosapentaenoic Acid
Chemokine CCL2
Psychopathology
Psychiatry
Interleukin-6
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha

Keywords

  • DHA
  • EPA
  • infant temperament
  • inflammation
  • negative affect
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • pre-pregnancy body mass index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Increased Maternal Prenatal Adiposity, Inflammation, and Lower Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Influence Child Negative Affect. / Gustafsson, Hanna C.; Holton, Kathleen F.; Anderson, Ashley N.; Nousen, Elizabeth K.; Sullivan, Ceri A.; Loftis, Jennifer M.; Nigg, Joel T.; Sullivan, Elinor L.

In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, Vol. 13, 1035, 01.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Objective: Increased maternal adiposity during pregnancy is associated with offspring risk for psychiatric disorders. Inflammation secondary to adiposity is believed to be an important mechanism through which this effect occurs. Although increased adiposity introduces risk, not all children of overweight mothers develop these problems. Gestational factors that modify this risk are not well-understood. If maternal increased adiposity exerts its effects on offspring outcomes by increasing inflammation in the gestational environment, then anti-inflammatory inputs such as omega-3 fatty acids may be one protective factor. The goal of this study was to investigate whether maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and omega-3 fatty acid levels independently and/or interactively predicted offspring infant negative affect, an early life marker of risk for psychopathology. Methods: Data came from a prospective study of women recruited during pregnancy and their 6 month old infants (N = 62; 40{\%} female). Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was pulled from medical charts and third trimester omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were assessed in plasma. Child negative affect was assessed using observer- and maternal-ratings at 6 months of age. Maternal inflammation was indexed by third trimester plasma levels of interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. Results: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with increased infant negative affect whereas eicosapentaenoic acid was associated with less infant negative affect. Maternal omega-3 fatty acid levels moderated the effect of BMI on infant negative affect, such that omega-3 fatty acids buffered children against the negative consequences of increased adiposity. Supporting the role of maternal inflammation in these associations, maternal BMI and omega-3 fatty acid levels interacted to predict maternal third trimester inflammation. Further, maternal inflammation was associated with increased infant negative affect. Conclusion: Results suggest that omega-3 supplementation during pregnancy may protect against offspring behavioral risk associated with increased maternal adiposity.",
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AU - Nousen, Elizabeth K.

AU - Sullivan, Ceri A.

AU - Loftis, Jennifer M.

AU - Nigg, Joel T.

AU - Sullivan, Elinor L.

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