A randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of maternal dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice on brain injury in infants with IUGR

Madeline M. Ross, Sara Cherkerzian, Nicole D. Mikulis, Daria Turner, Julian Robinson, Terrie E. Inder, Lillian G. Matthews

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Animal studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of polyphenol-rich pomegranate juice. We recently reported altered white matter microstructure and functional connectivity in the infant brain following in utero pomegranate juice exposure in pregnancies with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This double-blind exploratory randomized controlled trial further investigates the impact of maternal pomegranate juice intake on brain structure and injury in a second cohort of IUGR pregnancies diagnosed at 24–34 weeks’ gestation. Ninety-nine mothers and their eligible fetuses (n = 103) were recruited from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and randomly assigned to 8 oz pomegranate (n = 56) or placebo (n = 47) juice to be consumed daily from enrollment to delivery. A subset of participants underwent fetal echocardiogram after 2 weeks on juice with no evidence of ductal constriction. 57 infants (n = 26 pomegranate, n = 31 placebo) underwent term-equivalent MRI for assessment of brain injury, volumes and white matter diffusion. No significant group differences were found in brain volumes or white matter microstructure; however, infants whose mothers consumed pomegranate juice demonstrated lower risk for brain injury, including any white or cortical grey matter injury compared to placebo. These preliminary findings suggest pomegranate juice may be a safe in utero neuroprotectant in pregnancies with known IUGR warranting continued investigation. Clinical trial registration: NCT04394910, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04394910, Registered May 20, 2020, initial participant enrollment January 16, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3569
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2021

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