M. K. Javaid1, S. R. Shore*1, P. Taylor*2, C. Gale*1, B. J. Boucher*3, K. Noonan*3, K. M. Godfrey*1, N. K. Arden*1, C. Cooper1, &. The Princess Anne Hospital Study Group*1. 1MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom, 2Medical Physics and Bioengineering, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton, United Kingdom, 3Metabolic Medicine, Royal London Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
Enhancing peak bone mass is a key component of strategies for the primary prevention of osteoporotic fractures in later life. There is growing evidence that the childhood skeletal growth trajectory is established during early life, and epidemiological studies suggest that the mechanism may involve programming of the vitamin D axis.
We therefore investigated specific maternal and neonatal determinants of childhood bone mass in 211 children (113 boys), who were measured at birth and for whom maternal anthropometry, lifestyle characteristics and serum 25OH vitamin D concentrations (25OHD) during late pregnancy were determined. Now aged nine years, the children have had body composition measured using DXA.
There was a significant positive (r=0.21; p=0.008) association between maternal 25OHD in late pregnancy and the whole body bone mineral content (WBBMC) of the children nine years later. However, there was a threshold in the relationship such that mothers with serum 25OHD concentrations below 14 ng/ml (lowest quartile) had children with significantly (p=0.001) lower WBBMC than those born to mothers more vitamin D replete (Figure). Maternal use of vitamin D supplements and maternal sunshine exposure were significant (p<0.01) determinants of maternal vitamin D status, as well as of childhood WBBMC (p<0.05).
These observations support the hypothesis that a mothers vitamin D status during pregnancy has persisting effects on bone mass accrual rates of her child. The use of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may increase bone mass accrual during childhood and reduce that child’s risk of osteoporotic fracture in later years.