BACKGROUND: Prenatal exposure to environmental adversities, including maternal overweight/obesity, diabetes/ hypertensive disorders, or mood/anxiety disorders, increases the risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. However, the underlying biological mechanisms remain elusive. We tested whether maternal antenatal inflammation was associated with the number of neurodevelopmental delay areas in children and whether it mediated the association between exposure to any prenatal environmental adversity and child neurodevelopmental delay.

METHODS: Mother-child dyads (N = 418) from the PREDO (Prediction and Prevention of Preeclampsia and Intrauterine Growth Restriction) study were followed up to 10.8 years. We analyzed maternal plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and glycoprotein acetyls at 3 consecutive antenatal time points, measured maternal body mass index in early pregnancy, extracted data on diabetes/hypertensive disorders in pregnancy from medical records, and extracted data on mood/anxiety disorders until childbirth from the Care Register for Health Care. To estimate the number of neurodevelopmental delay areas in children across cognitive, motor, and social functioning, we pooled data from the Care Register for Health Care on psychological development disorders with mother-reported Ages and Stages Questionnaire data on developmental milestones.

RESULTS: Higher levels of maternal high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and glycoprotein acetyls at and across all 3 antenatal time points were associated with 1.30- to 2.36-fold (p values,

CONCLUSIONS: Higher levels of maternal inflammation, especially when persisting throughout pregnancy, increase a child's risk of neurodevelopmental delay and mediate the effect of prenatal environmental adversity on child neurodevelopmental delay.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)898-907
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 515 Psychology
  • Inflammation
  • Mediation
  • Neurodevelopmental delay
  • Offspring
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal adversity
  • HS-CRP
  • RISK

Cite this