Do mismatches between pre- and post-natal environments influence adult physiological functioning?

Robertson, A. and Benzeval, M. (2014) Do mismatches between pre- and post-natal environments influence adult physiological functioning? PLoS ONE, 9(1), e86953. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086953) (PMID:24498001) (PMCID:PMC3908925)

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Abstract

Purpose Mismatches between pre- and post-natal environments have implications for disease in adulthood. However, less is known about how this mismatch can affect physiological systems more generally, especially at younger ages. We hypothesised that mismatches between pre- and post-natal environments, as measured by the measures of birthweight and adult leg length, would be associated with poorer biomarker levels across five key physiological systems in young adults.

Methods Data were collected from 923, 36 year-old respondents from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study. The biomarkers were: systolic blood pressure (sBP); forced expiratory volume (FEV1); glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c); glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). These biomarkers were regressed against pre-natal conditions (birthweight), post-natal conditions (leg length) and the interaction between pre- and post-natal measures. Sex, childhood socioeconomic position and adult lifestyle characteristics were adjusted for as potential effect modifiers and confounders, respectively.

Results There were no associations between birthweight and leg length and sBP, FEV1, HbA1c, or GGT. Higher birthweight and longer leg length were associated with better kidney function (eGFR). However, there was no evidence for mismatches between birthweight and leg length to be associated with worse sBP, FEV1, HbA1c, eGFR or GGT levels (P>0.05).

Conclusions Our hypothesis that early signs of physiological damage would be present in young adults given mismatches in childhood environments, as measured by growth markers, was not proven. This lack of association could be because age 36 is too young to identify significant trends for future health, or the associations simply not being present.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Benzeval, Dr Michaela and Robertson, Dr Anthony
Authors: Robertson, A., and Benzeval, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 9(1):e86953
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656621Social Patterning of Health over the LifecourseTimothy PophamMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/7IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU