Lavigne E, Ashley-Martin J, Dodds L, Arbuckle TE, Hystad P, Johnson M, Crouse DL, Ettinger AS, Shapiro GD, Fisher M, Morisset AS, Taback S, Bouchard MF, Sun L, Monnier P, Dallaire R, Fraser WD. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2016 2016 May 1;183(9):842-51. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv256
Previous evidence suggests that exposure to outdoor air pollution during pregnancy could alter fetal metabolic function, which could increase the risk of obesity in childhood. However, to our knowledge, no epidemiologic study has investigated the association between prenatal exposure to air pollution and indicators of fetal metabolic function. We investigated the association between maternal exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter (aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm) and umbilical cord blood leptin and adiponectin levels with mixed-effects linear regression models among 1,257 mother-infant pairs from the Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals (MIREC) Study, conducted in Canada (2008–2011). We observed that an interquartile-range increase in average exposure to fine particulate matter (3.2 µg/m3) during pregnancy was associated with an 11% (95% confidence interval: 4, 17) increase in adiponectin levels. We also observed 13% (95% confidence interval: 6, 20) higher adiponectin levels per interquartile-range increase in average exposure to nitrogen dioxide (13.6 parts per billion) during pregnancy. Significant associations were seen between air pollution markers and cord blood leptin levels in models that adjusted for birth weight z score but not in models that did not adjust for birth weight z score. The roles of prenatal exposure to air pollution and fetal metabolic function in the potential development of childhood obesity should be further explored.