Deakin University

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Population-based plasma lipidomics reveals developmental changes in metabolism and signatures of obesity risk: a mother-offspring cohort study

journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-25, 02:19 authored by SA Mir, L Chen, S Burugupalli, B Burla, S Ji, AAT Smith, K Narasimhan, A Ramasamy, KML Tan, K Huynh, C Giles, D Mei, G Wong, F Yap, KH Tan, F Collier, R Saffery, Peter VuillerminPeter Vuillermin, AK Bendt, D Burgner, AL Ponsonby, YS Lee, YS Chong, PD Gluckman, JG Eriksson, PJ Meikle, MR Wenk, N Karnani
Abstract Background Lipids play a vital role in health and disease, but changes to their circulating levels and the link with obesity remain poorly characterized in expecting mothers and their offspring in early childhood. Methods LC-MS/MS-based quantitation of 480 lipid species was performed on 2491 plasma samples collected at 4 time points in the mother-offspring Asian cohort GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes). These 4 time points constituted samples collected from mothers at 26–28 weeks of gestation (n=752) and 4–5 years postpartum (n=650), and their offspring at birth (n=751) and 6 years of age (n=338). Linear regression models were used to identify the pregnancy and developmental age-specific variations in the plasma lipidomic profiles, and their association with obesity risk. An independent birth cohort (n=1935), the Barwon Infant Study (BIS), comprising mother-offspring dyads of Caucasian origin was used for validation. Results Levels of 36% of the profiled lipids were significantly higher (absolute fold change > 1.5 and Padj < 0.05) in antenatal maternal circulation as compared to the postnatal phase, with phosphatidylethanolamine levels changing the most. Compared to antenatal maternal lipids, cord blood showed lower concentrations of most lipid species (79%) except lysophospholipids and acylcarnitines. Changes in lipid concentrations from birth to 6 years of age were much higher in magnitude (log2FC=−2.10 to 6.25) than the changes observed between a 6-year-old child and an adult (postnatal mother) (log2FC=−0.68 to 1.18). Associations of cord blood lipidomic profiles with birth weight displayed distinct trends compared to the lipidomic profiles associated with child BMI at 6 years. Comparison of the results between the child and adult BMI identified similarities in association with consistent trends (R2=0.75). However, large number of lipids were associated with BMI in adults (67%) compared to the children (29%). Pre-pregnancy BMI was specifically associated with decrease in the levels of phospholipids, sphingomyelin, and several triacylglycerol species in pregnancy. Conclusions In summary, our study provides a detailed landscape of the in utero lipid environment provided by the gestating mother to the growing fetus, and the magnitude of changes in plasma lipidomic profiles from birth to early childhood. We identified the effects of adiposity on the circulating lipid levels in pregnant and non-pregnant women as well as offspring at birth and at 6 years of age. Additionally, the pediatric vs maternal overlap of the circulating lipid phenotype of obesity risk provides intergenerational insights and early opportunities to track and intervene the onset of metabolic adversities. Clinical trial registration This birth cohort is a prospective observational study, which was registered on 1 July 2010 under the identifier NCT01174875.



BMC Medicine



Article number





London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal