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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Obesity and Metabolism Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332061

Research Project: Novel Functions and Biomarkers for Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research

Title: Maternal plasma cholesterol and duration of pregnancy: a prospective cohort study in Ghana

Author
item Oaks, Brietta - University Of California
item Stewart, Christine - University Of California
item Laugero, Kevin
item Adu-afarwuah, Seth - University Of California
item Lartey, Anna - University Of California
item Vosti, Stephen - University Of California
item Ashorn, Per - University Of Tampere Medical School
item Dewey, Kathryn - University Of California

Submitted to: Maternal and Child Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2016
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
Citation: Oaks, B., Stewart, C., Laugero, K.D., Adu-Afarwuah, S., Lartey, A., Vosti, S., Ashorn, P., Dewey, K. 2016. Maternal plasma cholesterol and duration of pregnancy: a prospective cohort study in Ghana. Maternal and Child Nutrition. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12418.

Interpretive Summary: Premature birth presents significant risks to the immediate and long term physical and mental health of the child. However, the biological factors that influence and predict premature birth are still unknown. A better understanding of these factors and how they operate to influence length of pregnancy may facilitate the development of improved strategies (for example, nutritional) aimed at preventing premature birth. There is some evidence suggesting that low serum cholesterol in mothers during pregnancy may be associated with shorter gestation periods and premature birth. However, research results are mixed and limited primarily to high-income countries. Our objective was to determine in women from the West African sub-region, Ghana, whether blood lipid (e.g., cholesterol; triglyceride) concentrations are associated with length of gestation. To accomplish this, we performed a large randomized controlled trial (study) in Ghana. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and triglyceride concentrations in the women’s blood were analyzed at = 20 wk and 36 wk gestation. We found that higher HDL was associated with a longer duration of gestation; duration of gestation was 5.9 days shorter among women with low HDL. Duration of gestation was 4.9 days longer among women with low LDL. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that low total cholesterol is associated with a shorter duration of gestation, however low HDL cholesterol in the third trimester of pregnancy may be associated with a shorter duration of pregnancy in this group of women.

Technical Abstract: Low serum cholesterol may be associated with preterm birth, however results are mixed and limited primarily to high-income countries. Our objective was to determine whether maternal blood lipid concentrations are associated with duration of gestation. We performed a nested cohort (n=320) study of pregnant Ghanaian women enrolled in a large randomized controlled trial. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglyceride concentrations were analyzed in plasma at = 20 wk and 36 wk gestation. Gestational age was determined by ultrasound at enrollment. Blood lipid concentrations were examined as continuous variables and also categorized into low (<10th percentile), referent (10-90th percentile), or high (>90th percentile). At = 20 wk gestation, blood lipids were not associated with duration of gestation. At 36 wk gestation, total cholesterol and triglycerides were not significantly associated with pregnancy duration. Higher HDL-C was associated with a longer duration of gestation (adjusted ß-coefficient ± SE: 0.05 ± 0.02 days/mg/dL, p=0.02); duration of gestation was 5.9 days shorter among women with low HDL-C compared with the referent group (10-90th percentile) (p = 0.02). Duration of gestation was 4.9 days longer among women with low LDL-C at 36 wk gestation when compared with the referent group (p = 0.051). Our data do not support the hypothesis that low total cholesterol is associated with a shorter duration of gestation, however low HDL-C in the third trimester of pregnancy may be associated with a shorter duration of pregnancy in this study population.