BACKGROUND: Poor cardiovascular health during pregnancy has been associated with adverse neurocognitive outcomes in the offspring. We examined the associations of maternal cardiovascular health factors with brain structure in 10-year-old children. METHODS AND RESULTS: We included 2797 mother– offspring pairs from the Generation R Study. Maternal body mass index, gestational weight gain, blood pressure, insulin, glucose, and lipid blood concentrations were obtained in early pregnancy. Childhood structural brain measures, including global metrics of brain tissue volumes and white matter microstructure, were quantified by magnetic resonance imaging at 10 years. As compared with offspring of mothers with normal weight, those of mothers with underweight had smaller total brain volume (difference, −28.99 [95% CI −56.55 to −1.45] cm3). Similarly, as compared with offspring of mothers with gestational weight gain between the 25th and 75th percentile, those of mothers with ges-tational weight loss or no gestational weight gain (<25th percentile), had smaller total brain volume (difference, −13.07 [95% CI, −23.82 to −2.32] cm3). Also, higher maternal diastolic blood pressure in early pregnancy was associated with lower offspring white matter mean diffusivity (difference, −0.07 [95% CI, −0.11 to −0.02] SD score). After multiple testing correction, only the association of maternal diastolic blood pressure with lower offspring white matter mean diffusivity remained statistically sig-nificant. No associations were observed of maternal insulin, glucose, and lipid concentrations with childhood brain outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that maternal cardiovascular health during pregnancy might be related to offspring brain development in the long term. Future studies are needed to replicate our findings and to explore the causal nature of the associations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The general design of the Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam; the Erasmus University Rotterdam; the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development; the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport. Dr Jaddoe received grants from the European Research Council (ERC-2014-CoG-648 916). This project was supported by funding support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreements No. 733206 (LifeCycle). Dr El Marroun was supported by Stichting Volksbond Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (Aspasia Grant No. 015.016.056), and the NARSAD Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (Grant No. 27853). Dr Muetzel was supported by the Sophia Foundation (S18-20). Supercomputing computations were supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Physical Sciences Division: Exacte Wetenschappen, and SURFsara: Cartesius computer cluster [www.surfsara.nl].
© 2022 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc.,.