Comparing Intrauterine Transfer Rates and Maternal Plasma Levels of Carotenoids In Maternal-Infant Pairs Between Gestational Age Groups
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College, Institute, or Department
Child Health Research Institute
Ann Anderson-Berry, MD, PhD
Melissa Thoene, Matt VanOrmer, Maranda Thompson, Corrine Hanson
Background: Carotenoids are recognized as potential antioxidants with a wide range of functions in humans, such as protecting eye health. Carotenoid levels in infant cord blood are generally lower than in maternal serum. Still, little research has assessed on the intrauterine transfer rate of carotenoids between mothers and infants at varying gestational ages.
Objective: This study aimed to identify differences in intrauterine transfer rates of carotenoids between five gestational age groups.
Experimental Design: An IRB-approved study enrolled 308 maternal-infant pairs at delivery. Gestational age was categorized into five groups: extremely preterm (<28 weeks), very preterm (28 to <32 weeks), moderately to late preterm (32 to <37 weeks), early term (37 to <39 weeks), and term (>39 weeks). Maternal blood and umbilical cord samples were collected at birth and analyzed for carotenoid nutrient levels using high-performance liquid chromatography. Demographic and clinical outcome data were collected from the electronic health record. Intrauterine transfer rates were calculated as [(umbilical cord blood nutrient level/maternal serum level)*100]. Descriptive statistics were generated. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the intrauterine transfer rates of carotenoids between the gestational age groups. Post-hoc pairwise comparisons were used to assess specific inter-group differences. A p-value of <0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Median birth gestational age was 39 2/7 weeks with 3 (1%) infants in the extremely preterm group, 9 (2.9%) in very preterm, 33 (10.7%) in moderately to late preterm, 70 (22.7%) in early term, and 193 (62.7%) born term. There was a significant difference in intrauterine transfer rate between gestational age groups for lutein + zeaxanthin (L+Z), a-carotene, and total B-carotene (Table 1). Post-hoc pairwise comparisons showed significant differences between term and moderately preterm for L+Z (p=0.016), term and extremely preterm for L+Z (p=0.041), and term and moderately preterm for a-carotene (p=0.003).
Table 1. Comparison of Median Intrauterine Transfer Rates in Maternal-Infant Pairs Between Gestational Age Groups Transfer Rate p-value between all groups lutein + zeaxanthin 15.6% 0.001 total lycopene 4.4% 0.070 β-cryptoxanthin 11.0% 0.112 ⍺-carotene 8.6% 0.03 β-carotene 6.1% 0.037
Conclusion: There may be a relationship between intrauterine transfer rates of carotenoids and gestational age groups. Further research is needed to fully understand the clinical significance of this observed relationship and ascertain what interventions, if any, are ideal for maternal-fetal health. This study is limited by the low number of participants in the extremely preterm and very preterm groups.
Carotenoids, Prematurity, Preterm, Gestational Age
Zetterman, Allison; Hattery, Jaden; Wegner, Lauren; Wickman, Julia; Slotkowski, Rebecca; Thoene, Melissa K.; Van Ormer, Matthew; Thompson, Maranda; Hanson, Corrine K.; and Anderson-Berry, Ann, "Comparing Intrauterine Transfer Rates and Maternal Plasma Levels of Carotenoids In Maternal-Infant Pairs Between Gestational Age Groups" (2020). Posters: 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Program. 8.