Association between Maternal and Foetal Erythrocyte Fatty Acid Profiles and Birth Weight

Giulia Cinelli, Marta Fabrizi, Lucilla Ravà, Fabrizio Signore, Pamela Vernocchi, Michela Semeraro, Cristina Vallone, Rosalba Lanciotti, Marta Ciofi Degli Atti, Melania Manco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regular foetal development is crucial for assuring good health status in the offspring. The quality and quantity of maternal dietary fatty acids (FAs) can affect growth. The study aimed to: (1) investigate the association of maternal/foetal lipid profiles with birth weight (BW); and (2) compare these profiles in small, appropriate, and large for gestational age (SGA, AGA, and LGA) infants. FAs were measured in erythrocyte membranes using gas chromatography analysis in 607 mother-infant pairs (316 males, 52.1%). In the quantile regression, a significant association between BW and levels of maternal linoleic acid (LA; C18:2, n-6; coefficient: 18.66; p = 0.010), arachidonic acid (AA; C20:4, n-6; coefficient: 11.35; p = 0.007), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; C22:6, n-3; coefficient: 29.73; p = 0.007), polyunsaturated FAs (coefficient: 8.55; p = 0.001), foetal DHA (coefficient: -22.82; p = 0.037), and saturated FAs (coefficient: -65.41; p = 0.002) was found. Myristic (C14:0) and pentadecanoic acids (C15:0), both maternal (p = 0.000; p = 0.017) and foetal (p = 0.009; p = 0.002), and maternal erucic acid (C22:1, n-9; p = 0.026) were found at higher levels in SGA infants as compared to AGA ones. Conversely, maternal LA, AA, and omega 6 FAs levels were higher in AGA infants (p = 0.037; p = 0.003; p = 0.026, respectively). Maternal and foetal polyunsaturated and omega 6 FAs levels are positively related to BW, while a lipid profile rich in saturated FAs and erucic acid may influence the risk of SGA.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 23 2018


  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Erythrocytes/metabolism
  • Fatty Acids/adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6/blood
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood/metabolism
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors


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