Vitamin B(12) and folate concentrations during pregnancy and insulin resistance in the offspring: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study

Yajnik, C.S., Deshpande, S.S., Jackson, A.A., Refsum, H., Rao, S., Fisher, D.J., Bhat, D.S., Naik, S.S., Coyaji, K.J., Joglekar, C.V., Joshi, N., Lubree, H.G., Deshpande, V.U., Rege, S.S. and Fall, C.H. (2008) Vitamin B(12) and folate concentrations during pregnancy and insulin resistance in the offspring: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study Diabetologia, 51, (1), pp. 29-38. (doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y).


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Aims/hypotheses: raised maternal plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations predict small size at birth, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus. We studied the association between maternal vitamin B(12), folate and tHcy status during pregnancy, and offspring adiposity and insulin resistance at 6 years.

Methods: in the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study we studied 700 consecutive eligible pregnant women in six villages. We measured maternal nutritional intake and circulating concentrations of folate, vitamin B(12), tHcy and methylmalonic acid (MMA) at 18 and 28 weeks of gestation. These were correlated with offspring anthropometry, body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan) and insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-R]) at 6 years.

Results: two-thirds of mothers had low vitamin B(12) (10 mumol/l); only one had a low erythrocyte folate concentration. Although short and thin (BMI), the 6-year-old children were relatively adipose compared with the UK standards (skinfold thicknesses). Higher maternal erythrocyte folate concentrations at 28 weeks predicted higher offspring adiposity and higher HOMA-R (both p < 0.01). Low maternal vitamin B(12) (18 weeks; p = 0.03) predicted higher HOMA-R in the children. The offspring of mothers with a combination of high folate and low vitamin B(12) concentrations were the most insulin resistant.

Conclusions/interpretations: low maternal vitamin B(12) and high folate status may contribute to the epidemic of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in India.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s00125-007-0793-y
ISSNs: 0012-186X (print)
Keywords: diabetes mellitus, women, diabetes, maternal nutrition, nutrition, insulin, body-composition, India, research, birth, pregnancy, skinfold thickness, mothers, body composition, plasma, size, insulin resistance, maternal, risk, anthropometry, resistance, homocysteine, standards, methods, acid, insulin-resistance
ePrint ID: 61622
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:30
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