Nav: Home

High LDL-C levels in women prior to childbirth linked with high levels in adult offspring

March 02, 2016

In a study published online by JAMA Cardiology, among more than 500 adult/offspring pairs, elevated maternal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels prior to pregnancy were associated with elevated adult offspring LDL-C levels, beyond the influence attributable to measured lifestyle and inherited genetic factors.

The effect of maternal lipoprotein abnormalities on offspring's cardiovascular health in the general population has been underexplored, despite the frequent occurrence of dyslipidemia (abnormal lipid levels) among women of childbearing age. In the United States, a quarter of women of childbearing age had an elevated LDL-C level (greater than 130 mg/dL) in 2007- 2008 data. Michael M. Mendelson, M.D., Sc.M., of the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, and colleagues analyzed 538 parent-offspring pairs with parental LDL-C levels measured in the Framingham Heart Study prior to the offspring's birth. The Framingham Heart Study is a multigenerational, population-based cohort initiated in 1948. For this analysis, parental prebirth, parental concurrent, and adult offspring assessments occurred in 1971-1983, 1998-2001, and 2002-2005, respectively. Data analyses were conducted between March 2013 and May 2015.

The researchers found that adult offspring LDL-C levels were associated with maternal prepregnancy LDL-C levels after adjustment for family relatedness and offspring lifestyle, anthropometric factors (various body measurements ), and inherited genetic variants. Adults who had been exposed to elevated maternal prepregnancy LDL-C levels were at a 3.8 times higher odds of having elevated LDL-C levels and had an adjusted LDL-C level of 18 mg/dl higher than did those without such exposure.

"The findings support the possibility of a maternal epigenetic [something that affects a cell, organ or individual without directly affecting its DNA, such as an environmental effect] contribution to cardiovascular disease risk in the general population. Further research is warranted to determine whether ongoing public health efforts to identify and reduce dyslipidemia in young adults prior to their childbearing years may have additional potential health benefits for the subsequent generation," the authors write.
-end-
(JAMA Cardiology. Published online March 2, 2016; doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2015.0304. This study is available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Note: An accompanying Editor's Note, "Nurturing Nature - Exploring the Possible Role of Epigenetics in Dyslipidemia," by Marc S. Sabatine, M.D., M.P.H., is available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Research Articles:


Related Research Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".