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Higher vitamin D during pregnancy associated with stronger hand grip at age 4 – Oct 2013

Maternal antenatal vitamin D status and offspring muscle development: findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism October 31, 2013 jc.2013-3241
Nicholas C. Harvey1,2,*, Rebecca J. Moon1,3,*, Avan Aihie Sayer1, Georgia Ntani1, Justin H. Davies3, M Kassim Javaid4, Sian M. Robinson1, Keith M. Godfrey1,2, Hazel M. Inskip1, Cyrus Cooper1,2,4,
The Southampton Women's Survey Study Group
1 MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Tremona Rd, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK;
2 NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Rd, Southampton, SO16 6YD UK;
3 Paediatric Endocrinology, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Rd, Southampton, SO16 6YD, UK;
4 NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, University of Oxford, Nuffield Orthopedic Centre, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7HE
Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Prof Cyrus Cooper FMedSci, Professor of Rheumatology and Director, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, SO16 6YD, Tel: 023 80 777624, Fax: 023 80 704021, Email: cc at mrc.soton.ac.

Context: Maternal 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] status in pregnancy has been associated with offspring bone development and adiposity. Vitamin D has also been implicated in postnatal muscle function but little is known about a role for antenatal 25(OH)D exposure in programming muscle development.

Objective: We investigated the associations between maternal plasma 25(OH)D status at 34 weeks gestation and offspring lean mass and muscle strength at 4 years of age.

Design and setting: A prospective UK population-based mother-offspring cohort: the Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS).

Participants: 12583 non-pregnant women were initially recruited into SWS, of which 3159 had singleton pregnancies. 678 mother-child pairs were included in this analysis.

Main Outcomes Measured: At 4 years of age, offspring assessments included hand grip strength (Jamar Dynamometer) and whole body DXA (Hologic Discovery) yielding lean mass and % lean mass. Physical activity was assessed by 7-day accelerometry (Actiheart) in a subset of children (n=326).

Results: Maternal serum 25(OH)D concentration in pregnancy was positively associated with offspring height-adjusted hand grip strength (β=0.10 SD/SD, p=0.013), which persisted after adjustment for maternal confounding factors, duration of breastfeeding and child’s physical activity at 4 years (β=0.13 SD/SD, p=0.014). Maternal 25(OH)D was also positively associated with offspring %lean mass (β=0.11 SD/SD, p=0.006), but not total lean mass (β=0.06, p=0.15). This however did not persist after adjustment for confounding factors (β=0.09 SD/SD, p=0.11).

Conclusions: This observational study suggests that intrauterine exposure to 25(OH)D during late pregnancy might influence offspring muscle development through an effect primarily on muscle strength rather than muscle mass.

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