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Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine

Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine
Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine
OBJECTIVE: We previously showed that maternal under-nutrition during gestation is associated with increased metabolic and cardiovascular disease in the offspring. Also, we found increased neonatal adiposity among the grandchildren of women who had been undernourished during pregnancy. In the present study we investigated whether these transgenerational effects have led to altered body composition and poorer health in adulthood in the grandchildren.

DESIGN: Historical cohort study.

SETTING: Web-based questionnaire.

POPULATION: The adult offspring (F2) of a cohort of men and women (F1) born around the time of the 1944-45 Dutch famine.
METHODS: We approached the F2 adults through their parents. Participating F2 adults (n = 360, mean age 37 years) completed an online questionnaire.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weight, body mass index (BMI), and health in F2 adults, according to F1 prenatal famine exposure.

RESULTS: Adult offspring (F2) of prenatally exposed F1 fathers had higher weights and BMIs than offspring of prenatally unexposed F1 fathers (+4.9 kg, P = 0.03; +1.6 kg/m(2), P = 0.006). No such effect was found for the F2 offspring of prenatally exposed F1 mothers. We observed no differences in adult health between the F2 generation groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Offspring of prenatally undernourished fathers, but not mothers, were heavier and more obese than offspring of fathers and mothers who had not been undernourished prenatally. We found no evidence of transgenerational effects of grandmaternal under-nutrition during gestation on the health of this relatively young group, but the increased adiposity in the offspring of prenatally undernourished fathers may lead to increased chronic disease rates in the future.
famine, fetal, health, transgenerational
0306-5456
548-554
Veenendal, M.V.E.
1f76d87e-dbb8-4574-a42f-6ac2975b9ee3
Painter, R.C.
f223b3d4-6dc9-4e17-8e32-0bc6d104111c
De Rooji, S.R.
5661cc16-7603-490d-9b3b-b54e3cae80dc
Bossuyt, P.M.M.
5ca6d5dc-a88d-4928-b5f0-225704b8da6e
Van Der Post, J.A.M.
9197cb84-a387-4214-86fb-2924d73985c2
Gluckman, Peter D.
ef2e8b92-0b76-4a12-bd7c-01b0674f94d3
Hanson, Mark A.
1952fad1-abc7-4284-a0bc-a7eb31f70a3f
Roseboom, T.J.
9f4c3a8a-3fb2-4c59-a539-7a7cc22d175b
Veenendal, M.V.E.
1f76d87e-dbb8-4574-a42f-6ac2975b9ee3
Painter, R.C.
f223b3d4-6dc9-4e17-8e32-0bc6d104111c
De Rooji, S.R.
5661cc16-7603-490d-9b3b-b54e3cae80dc
Bossuyt, P.M.M.
5ca6d5dc-a88d-4928-b5f0-225704b8da6e
Van Der Post, J.A.M.
9197cb84-a387-4214-86fb-2924d73985c2
Gluckman, Peter D.
ef2e8b92-0b76-4a12-bd7c-01b0674f94d3
Hanson, Mark A.
1952fad1-abc7-4284-a0bc-a7eb31f70a3f
Roseboom, T.J.
9f4c3a8a-3fb2-4c59-a539-7a7cc22d175b

Veenendal, M.V.E., Painter, R.C., De Rooji, S.R., Bossuyt, P.M.M., Van Der Post, J.A.M., Gluckman, Peter D., Hanson, Mark A. and Roseboom, T.J. (2013) Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 120 (5), 548-554. (doi:10.1111/1471-0528.12136). (PMID:23346894)

Record type: Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: We previously showed that maternal under-nutrition during gestation is associated with increased metabolic and cardiovascular disease in the offspring. Also, we found increased neonatal adiposity among the grandchildren of women who had been undernourished during pregnancy. In the present study we investigated whether these transgenerational effects have led to altered body composition and poorer health in adulthood in the grandchildren.

DESIGN: Historical cohort study.

SETTING: Web-based questionnaire.

POPULATION: The adult offspring (F2) of a cohort of men and women (F1) born around the time of the 1944-45 Dutch famine.
METHODS: We approached the F2 adults through their parents. Participating F2 adults (n = 360, mean age 37 years) completed an online questionnaire.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weight, body mass index (BMI), and health in F2 adults, according to F1 prenatal famine exposure.

RESULTS: Adult offspring (F2) of prenatally exposed F1 fathers had higher weights and BMIs than offspring of prenatally unexposed F1 fathers (+4.9 kg, P = 0.03; +1.6 kg/m(2), P = 0.006). No such effect was found for the F2 offspring of prenatally exposed F1 mothers. We observed no differences in adult health between the F2 generation groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Offspring of prenatally undernourished fathers, but not mothers, were heavier and more obese than offspring of fathers and mothers who had not been undernourished prenatally. We found no evidence of transgenerational effects of grandmaternal under-nutrition during gestation on the health of this relatively young group, but the increased adiposity in the offspring of prenatally undernourished fathers may lead to increased chronic disease rates in the future.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 24 January 2013
Published date: April 2013
Keywords: famine, fetal, health, transgenerational
Organisations: Human Development & Health

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 355464
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/355464
ISSN: 0306-5456
PURE UUID: 23975ee8-b083-46fe-8973-34a8266b197e
ORCID for Mark A. Hanson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6907-613X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Aug 2013 15:54
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 01:47

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Contributors

Author: M.V.E. Veenendal
Author: R.C. Painter
Author: S.R. De Rooji
Author: P.M.M. Bossuyt
Author: J.A.M. Van Der Post
Author: Peter D. Gluckman
Author: Mark A. Hanson ORCID iD
Author: T.J. Roseboom

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