Cord blood metabolic markers are strong mediators of the effect of maternal adiposity on fetal growth in pregnancies across the glucose tolerance spectrum: the PANDORA study

I. Lynn Lee, Elizabeth L.M. Barr, Danielle Longmore, Federica Barzi, Alex D.H. Brown, Christine Connors, Jacqueline A. Boyle, Marie Kirkwood, Vanya Hampton, Michael Lynch, Zhong X. Lu, Kerin O’Dea, Jeremy Oats, H. David McIntyre, Paul Zimmet, Jonathan E. Shaw, Louise J. Maple-Brown, on behalf of the PANDORA study team

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/hypothesis: We aimed to assess associations between cord blood metabolic markers and fetal overgrowth, and whether cord markers mediated the impact of maternal adiposity on neonatal anthropometric outcomes among children born to Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australian women with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and pregestational type 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods: From the Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) study, an observational cohort of 1135 mother–baby pairs, venous cord blood was available for 645 singleton babies (49% Indigenous Australian) of women with NGT (n = 129), GDM (n = 419) and type 2 diabetes (n = 97). Cord glucose, triacylglycerol, HDL-cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP) and C-peptide were measured. Multivariable logistic and linear regression were used to assess the associations between cord blood metabolic markers and the outcomes of birthweight z score, sum of skinfold thickness (SSF), being large for gestational age (LGA) and percentage of body fat. Pathway analysis assessed whether cord markers mediated the associations between maternal and neonatal adiposity. Results: Elevated cord C-peptide was significantly associated with increasing birthweight z score (β 0.57 [95% CI 0.42, 0.71]), SSF (β 0.83 [95% CI 0.41, 1.25]), percentage of body fat (β 1.20 [95% CI 0.69, 1.71]) and risk for LGA [OR 3.14 [95% CI 2.11, 4.68]), after adjusting for age, ethnicity and diabetes type. Cord triacylglycerol was negatively associated with birthweight z score for Indigenous Australian women only. No associations between cord glucose, HDL-cholesterol and CRP >0.3 mg/l (2.9 nmol/l) with neonatal outcomes were observed. C-peptide mediated 18% (95% CI 13, 36) of the association of maternal BMI with LGA and 11% (95% CI 8, 17) of the association with per cent neonatal fat. Conclusions/interpretation: Cord blood C-peptide is an important mediator of the association between maternal and infant adiposity, across the spectrum of maternal glucose tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497–507
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


  • Cord blood
  • Diabetes in pregnancy
  • Fetal hyperinsulinaemia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Neonatal adiposity
  • Neonatal fat mass
  • Type 2 diabetes

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