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Birth weight variants are associated with variable fetal intrauterine growth from 20 weeks of gestation

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Fetal intrauterine growth is influenced by complex interactions between the maternal genes, environment and fetal genes. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of GWAS-identified genetic variants associated with birth weight on intrauterine fetal growth in 665 children. Fetal growth was estimated by two-dimensional ultrasound scans at 20, 25 and 32 weeks of gestation and growth trajectories were modeled using mixed linear regression. A genetic risk score (GRS) of birth weight-raising variants was associated with intrauterine growth showing an attenuating effect on the unconditional daily reduction in proportional weight gain of 8.92 × 10-6 percentage points/allele/day (p = 2.0 × 10-4), corresponding to a mean difference of 410 g at 40 weeks of gestation between a child with lowest and highest GRS. Eight variants were independently associated with intrauterine growth throughout the pregnancy, while four variants were associated with fetal growth in the periods 20-25 or 25-32 weeks of gestation, indicating that some variants may act in specific time windows during pregnancy. Four of the intrauterine growth variants were associated with type 2 diabetes, hypertension or BMI in the UK Biobank, which may provide basis for further understanding of the link between intrauterine growth and later risk of metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)8376
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2018

ID: 54442774