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Open AccessArticle

Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation and Growth in Early Infancy are Associated with Stunting in Young Tanzanian Children

1
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091158
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
Stunting can afflict up to one-third of children in resource-constrained countries. We hypothesized that low-grade systemic inflammation (defined as elevations in serum C-reactive protein or alpha-1-acid glycoprotein) in infancy suppresses the growth hormone–insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis and is associated with subsequent stunting. Blood samples of 590 children from periurban Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were obtained at 6 weeks and 6 months of age as part of a randomized controlled trial. Primary outcomes were stunting, underweight, and wasting (defined as length-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-length z-scores < −2) between randomization and endline (18 months after randomization). Cox proportional hazards models were constructed to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of time to first stunting, underweight, and wasting as outcomes, with measures of systemic inflammation, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) as exposures, adjusting for numerous demographic and clinical variables. The incidences of subsequent stunting, underweight, and wasting were 26%, 20%, and 18%, respectively. In multivariate analyses, systemic inflammation at 6 weeks of age was significantly associated with stunting (HR: 2.14, 95% CI: 1.23, 3.72; p = 0.002). Children with higher levels of IGF-1 at 6 weeks were less likely to become stunted (HR: 0.58, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.93; p for trend = 0.019); a similar trend was noted in children with higher levels of IGF-1 at 6 months of age (HR: 0.50, 95% CI: 0.22, 1.12; p for trend = 0.07). Systemic inflammation occurs as early as 6 weeks of age and is associated with the risk of future stunting among Tanzanian children. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomarkers; stunting; inflammation; growth; Tanzania; children biomarkers; stunting; inflammation; growth; Tanzania; children
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Syed, S.; Manji, K.P.; McDonald, C.M.; Kisenge, R.; Aboud, S.; Sudfeld, C.; Locks, L.; Liu, E.; Fawzi, W.W.; Duggan, C.P. Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation and Growth in Early Infancy are Associated with Stunting in Young Tanzanian Children. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1158.

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