Is low docosahexaenoic acid associated with disturbed rhythms and neurodevelopment in offsprings of diabetic mothers?

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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the relation between docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status and neurodevelopment in the offsprings of gestational diabetic mothers (ODMs).SUBJECTS/METHODS:A prospective cohort study was performed. The offspring of 63 pregnant women (23 controls, 21 diet-controlled gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and 19 insulin-treated GDM) were recruited. Maternal and venous cord plasma DHA percentages were analyzed. Skin temperature and activity in children were recorded for 72 h at 3 and 6 months of life. Neurodevelopment was assessed using the Bayley Scale of Infant Development II (BSID II) at 6 and 12 months of age.RESULTS:Cord plasma DHA percentage was significantly lower in the ODMs compared with that in the controls (Control 6.43 [5.04–7.82]a; GDM+diet 5.65 [4.44–6.86]ab; GDM+insulin 5.53 [4.45–6.61]b). Both mental (Control 102.71 [97.61–107.81]a; GDM+diet 100.39 [91.43–109.35]a; GDM+insulin 93.94 [88.31–99.57]b) and psychomotor (Control 91.52 [81.82–101.22]a; GDM+diet 81.67 [73.95–89.39]b; GDM+insulin 81.89 [71.96–91.85]b) scores evaluated by the BSID II were significantly lower at 6 months in ODMs, even after adjusting for confounding factors such as breastfeeding, maternal educational level and gender. Cord plasma DHA percentage correlated with the psychomotor score from BSID II (r = 0.27; P = 0.049) and with the intra-daily variability in activity (r = - 0.24; P = 0.043) at 6 months. Maternal DHA was correlated with several sleep rhythm maturation parameters at 6 months.CONCLUSIONS:Lower DHA levels in cord plasma of ODMs could affect their neurodevelopment. Maternal DHA status was also associated with higher values in the sleep rhythm maturation parameters of children.

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