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1.  Maternal Concentrations of Persistent Organochlorine Pollutants and the Risk of Asthma in Offspring: Results from a Prospective Cohort with 20 Years of Follow-up 
Background: Previous findings suggest that developmental exposures to persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs) may be detrimental for the development of the immune system in the offspring. Whether these suspected immunoregulatory effects persist beyond early childhood remains unclear.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between maternal serum concentrations of POPs and the risk of asthma in offspring after 20 years of follow-up.
Methods: A birth cohort with 965 women was formed in 1988–1989 in Aarhus, Denmark. Concentrations of six polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (congeners 118, 138, 153, 156, 170, 180), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p´-DDE) were quantified in maternal serum (n = 872) collected in gestation week 30. Information about offspring use of asthma medications was obtained from the Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics.
Results: Maternal serum concentrations of HCB and dioxin-like PCB-118 were positively associated with offspring asthma medication use after 20 years of follow-up (p for trend < 0.05). Compared with subjects in the first tertile of maternal concentration, those in the third tertile of PCB-118 had an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.90 (95% CI: 1.12, 3.23). For HCB the HR for the third versus the first tertile of maternal concentration was 1.92 (95% CI: 1.15, 3.21). Weak positive associations were also estimated for PCB-156 and the non-dioxin-like PCBs (PCBs 138, 153, 170, 180). No associations were found for p,p´-DDE.
Conclusions: Maternal concentrations of PCB-118 and HCB were associated with increased risk of asthma in offspring followed through 20 years of age.
Citation: Hansen S, Strøm M, Olsen SF, Maslova E, Rantakokko P, Kiviranta H, Rytter D, Bech BH, Hansen LV, Halldorsson TI. 2014. Maternal concentrations of persistent organochlorine pollutants and the risk of asthma in offspring: results from a prospective cohort with 20 years of follow-up. Environ Health Perspect 122:93–99;
PMCID: PMC3888563  PMID: 24162035
2.  Spontaneous Abortion and a Diet Drug Containing Caffeine and Ephedrine: A Study within the Danish National Birth Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50372.
Medications may be consumed periconceptionally before a woman knows she is pregnant. In this study, the authors evaluate the association of a prescription diet drug (Letigen) containing ephedrine (20 mg) and caffeine (200 mg) with spontaneous abortion (SAB) in the Danish National Birth Cohort.
Women were recruited during their first prenatal visit from 1996–2002. Pre-conception and early pregnancy medication use was reported on the enrollment form, and pregnancy outcome was determined by linking the mother's Civil Registration Number to the Medical Birth Registry and the National Hospital Discharge Register. Of 97,903 eligible pregnancies, 4,443 ended in SAB between 5 and 20 completed gestational weeks, inclusive. Letigen use was reported for 565 pregnancies. Cox regression models accounting for left truncation were fit to estimate the effect of pre-conception and early pregnancy Letigen use on SAB.
Principal Findings
The estimated maternal age-adjusted hazard ratio for SAB was 1.1 (95% confidence interval 0.8–1.6) for any periconceptional Letigen use compared to no periconceptional use.
Although Letigen has high levels of caffeine (the recommended 3 pills/day are approximately equivalent to caffeine from 6 cups of coffee), periconceptional use does not appear to be associated with an appreciably increased hazard of clinically recognized SAB.
PMCID: PMC3500353  PMID: 23166844
3.  Long-Term Health Outcomes in Children Born to Mothers with Diabetes: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36727.
To examine whether prenatal exposure to parental type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes is associated with an increased risk of malignant neoplasm or diseases of the circulatory system in the offspring.
Methods/Principal Findings
We conducted a population-based cohort study of 1,781,576 singletons born in Denmark from 1977 to 2008. Children were followed for up to 30 years from the day of birth until the onset of the outcomes under study, death, emigration, or December 31, 2009, whichever came first. We used Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for the outcomes under study while adjusting for potential confounders. An increased risk of malignant neoplasm was found in children prenatally exposed to maternal type 2 diabetes (HR = 2.2, 95%CI: 1.5–3.2). An increased risk of diseases of the circulatory system was found in children exposed to maternal type 1 diabetes (HR = 2.2, 95%CI: 1.6–3.0), type 2 diabetes (HR = 1.4, 95%CI: 1.1–1.7), and gestational diabetes (HR = 1.3, 95%CI: 1.1–1.6), but results were attenuated after excluding children with congenital malformations. An increased risk of diseases of the circulatory system was also found in children exposed to paternal type 2 diabetes (HR = 1.5, 95%CI: 1.1–2.2) and the elevated risk remained after excluding children with congenital malformations.
This study suggests that susceptibility to malignant neoplasm is modified partly by fetal programming. Diseases of the circulatory system may be modified by genetic factors, other time-stable family factors, or fetal programming.
PMCID: PMC3359312  PMID: 22649497
4.  Fish Oil Supplementation During Late Pregnancy Does Not Influence Plasma Lipids or Lipoprotein Levels in Young Adult Offspring 
Lipids  2011;46(12):1091-1099.
Nutritional influences on cardiovascular disease operate throughout life. Studies in both experimental animals and humans have suggested that changes in the peri- and early post-natal nutrition can affect the development of the various components of the metabolic syndrome in adult life. This has lead to the hypothesis that n-3 fatty acid supplementation in pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on lipid profile in the offspring. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of supplementation with n-3 fatty acids during the third trimester of pregnancy on lipids and lipoproteins in the 19-year-old offspring. The study was based on the follow-up of a randomized controlled trial from 1990 where 533 pregnant women were randomized to fish oil (n = 266), olive oil (n = 136) or no oil (n = 131). In 2009, the offspring were invited to a physical examination including blood sampling. A total of 243 of the offspring participated. Lipid values did not differ between the fish oil and olive oil groups. The relative adjusted difference (95% confidence intervals) in lipid concentrations was −3% (−11; 7) for LDL cholesterol, 3% (−3; 10) for HDL cholesterol, −1% (−6; 5) for total cholesterol,−4% (−16; 10) for TAG concentrations, 2%(−2; 7) for apolipoprotein A1, −1% (−9; 7) for apolipoprotein B and 3% (−7; 15) in relative abundance of small dense LDL. In conclusion, there was no effect of fish oil supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy on offspring plasma lipids and lipoproteins in adolescence.
PMCID: PMC3213334  PMID: 21874272
Lipids; Apolipoproteins; Lipoproteins; Fish oil; Developmental programming; RCT

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