Background & aims: Suboptimal circulating vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine concentrations during fetal life seem to be associated with cardiometabolic health at school-age. We examined whether fetal exposure to lower circulating vitamin B12 and folate concentrations and higher circulating homocysteine concentrations is also associated with early signs of atherosclerosis at school-age. Methods: This study among 3826 school-age children and their mothers was embedded in the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study from early pregnancy onwards. We examined the associations of early-pregnancy and cord blood serum total and active B12 and plasma folate and homocysteine concentrations with common carotid artery intima-media thickness and distensibility in the children aged ten years. Results: As compared to normal early-pregnancy serum total B12 concentrations (≥145 pmol/L), low serum total B12 concentrations (<145 pmol/L) were associated with higher carotid intima-media thickness in the children at school-age (difference 0.09 standard deviations score (SDS); 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.01, 0.16). As compared to normal early-pregnancy plasma folate concentrations (≥8 nmol/L), low plasma folate concentrations (<8 nmol/L) were associated with lower carotid distensibility in the children at school-age (difference −0.16 SDS; 95% CI: −0.28, −0.04). Early-pregnancy circulating total and active B12, folate and homocysteine concentrations measured continuously were not associated with carotid intima-media thickness or carotid distensibility in the children at school-age. One SDS higher plasma homocysteine concentrations measured in cord blood at birth was associated with a −0.05 SDS (95% CI: −0.09, −0.02) lower carotid distensibility at school-age. Cord blood total and active B12 and folate concentrations were not associated with carotid intima-media thickness or carotid distensibility at school-age. Conclusions: Circulating total B12, folate and homocysteine concentrations during fetal life seem to be associated with markers of subclinical atherosclerosis at school-age. Further studies need to examine the causality and mechanisms underlying these associations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Erasmus MC , University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam , the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development ( ZonMw ), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research ( NWO ), the Ministry of Health , Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families, the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program [733,206 (LifeCycle) and 874,739 (LongITools)] and the European Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life” (JPI HDHL, NutriPROGRAM project, ZonMw the Netherlands [529,051,022] and PREcisE project ZonMw the Netherlands [529,051,023]). VWVJ was supported by the European Research Council [ERC-2014-CoG-648916].
© 2021 The Author(s)