Maternal Proinflammatory Adipokines throughout Pregnancy and Neonatal Size and Body Composition: A Prospective Study

Ellen C. Francis, Mengying Li, Stefanie N. Hinkle, Jinbo Chen, Jing Wu, Yeyi Zhu, Haiming Cao, Michael Y. Tsai, Liwei Chen, Cuilin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Increased maternal adiposity and inflammation have impacts on fetal growth. Objectives: The purpose of this prospective study was to investigate the associations of 3 proinflammatory adipokines in pregnancy with neonatal anthropometry. Methods: In a sample of 321 US pregnant women from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort (NCT00912132), plasma IL-6, fatty acid binding protein-4 (FABP4), and chemerin were measured in plasma samples collected at 10-14, 15-26, 23-31, and 33-39 weeks of gestation. Generalized linear models were used to estimate associations of adipokines with neonatal weight, thigh, and crown-heel length, and skinfolds at birth. Models adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, education, nulliparity, prepregnancy BMI, and weeks of gestation at blood collection. Results: At each time point, higher IL-6 was associated with lower neonatal birthweight and thigh length. At 15-26 weeks of gestation, a 1 SD pg/mL increase in IL-6 was associated with-84.46 g lower neonatal birthweight (95% CI:-150.70,-18.22),-0.17 cm shorter thigh length (95% CI:-0.27,-0.07),-0.43 cm shorter crown-heel length (95% CI:-0.75,-0.10), and-0.75 mm smaller sum of skinfolds (95% CI:-1.19,-0.31), with similar associations at 23-31 and 33-39 weeks of gestation. There were no associations of FABP4 and chemerin with neonatal anthropometry. Conclusions: Starting as early as 15 weeks of gestation, higher maternal IL-6 concentrations in pregnancy were associated with lower neonatal birthweight, thigh and crown-heel length, and skinfolds. These data provide insight into the relevance of maternal inflammatory markers with neonatal anthropometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzab113
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition 2021.


  • adipokines
  • inflammation
  • interleukin 6
  • offspring body composition
  • pregnancy


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