Special Issue "Perinatal Nutrition"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Astrid Hogenkamp
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, PO Box 80082, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Interests: immune programming; allergy; nutrition; microbiome; gut; neurocognitive development; placenta

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The effect of early-life nutrition on later health is the result of a complex interplay between multiple factors, including environmental triggers, genetics, and maternal–fetal interaction. Dietary exposures during (pre-)pregnancy and early postnatal life can affect the risk of infection and development non-communicable diseases such as allergies and neurocognitive disorders. In recent decades, our understanding of the effects of nutritional components on health trajectories throughout life has substantially increased, although many details relating to underlying mechanisms and efficacy still need to be clarified. This Special Issue on “Perinatal Nutrition” aims to: 1) increase current knowledge on the long-term impact of early-life nutrition; 2) gather new mechanistic insights on programming effects of dietary interventions; and 3) evaluate the effects of novel dietary intervention strategies on future health and disease, in particular non-communicable diseases. Submissions may include original research, narrative reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses regarding the impact of nutrition in (pre-)pregnancy and early childhood on the development of future health.

Dr. Astrid Hogenkamp
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • preconception nutrition
  • pregnancy nutrition
  • postnatal nutrition
  • maternal diet
  • pre/probiotics
  • breast milk
  • fetal growth
  • child growth
  • allergy
  • atopy
  • microbiome
  • gut–brain–immune axis
  • brain
  • behavior
  • cognition

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Choline Plus Working Memory Training Improves Prenatal Alcohol-Induced Deficits in Cognitive Flexibility and Functional Connectivity in Adulthood in Rats
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3513; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113513 - 14 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 989
Abstract
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of intellectual disability, and may manifest as deficits in cognitive function, including working memory. Working memory capacity and accuracy increases during adolescence when neurons in the prefrontal cortex undergo refinement. Rats exposed to [...] Read more.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading known cause of intellectual disability, and may manifest as deficits in cognitive function, including working memory. Working memory capacity and accuracy increases during adolescence when neurons in the prefrontal cortex undergo refinement. Rats exposed to low doses of ethanol prenatally show deficits in working memory during adolescence, and in cognitive flexibility in young adulthood. The cholinergic system plays a crucial role in learning and memory processes. Here we report that the combination of choline and training on a working memory task during adolescence significantly improved cognitive flexibility (performance on an attentional set shifting task) in young adulthood: 92% of all females and 81% of control males formed an attentional set, but only 36% of ethanol-exposed males did. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that functional connectivity among brain regions was different between the sexes, and was altered by prenatal ethanol exposure and by choline + training. Connectivity, particularly between prefrontal cortex and striatum, was also different in males that formed a set compared with those that did not. Together, these findings indicate that prenatal exposure to low doses of ethanol has persistent effects on brain functional connectivity and behavior, that these effects are sex-dependent, and that an adolescent intervention could mitigate some of the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Article
Dietary Inflammatory Index during Pregnancy and the Risk of Intrapartum Fetal Asphyxia: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3482; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113482 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
We aimed to examine the impact of a daily pro-inflammatory diet during pregnancy on intrapartum fetal acidemia using a large birth cohort study in Japan. We used data on singleton pregnancies in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS) involving births from 2011 [...] Read more.
We aimed to examine the impact of a daily pro-inflammatory diet during pregnancy on intrapartum fetal acidemia using a large birth cohort study in Japan. We used data on singleton pregnancies in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS) involving births from 2011 to 2014 through vaginal delivery to calculate the maternal dietary inflammatory index (DII). Participants were categorized according to DII quintiles. A multiple logistic regression model was used to estimate the risk of a pro-inflammatory diet on fetal umbilical artery pH. In total, 56,490 participants were eligible for this study. Multiple regression analysis showed that nulliparous women who had undergone vaginal delivery and were consuming a pro-inflammatory diet had an increased risk of pH < 7.10 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.12–2.39). Among these women, the risk of pH < 7.10 was not affected by the duration of labor (aOR: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.11–2.42). In conclusion, following a pro-inflammatory diet during pregnancy is a risk factor for fetal acidosis among nulliparous women undergoing vaginal delivery. A high DII diet during pregnancy may modify the intrapartum fetal heart rate pattern via intrauterine inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Article
Decreased Histone Acetylation Levels at Th1 and Regulatory Loci after Induction of Food Allergy
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3193; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103193 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergy against cow’s milk protein fractions such as whey is one of the most common food-related allergic disorders of early childhood. Histone acetylation is an important epigenetic mechanism, shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of allergies. However, its role [...] Read more.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergy against cow’s milk protein fractions such as whey is one of the most common food-related allergic disorders of early childhood. Histone acetylation is an important epigenetic mechanism, shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of allergies. However, its role in food allergy remains unknown. IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy was successfully induced in a mouse model, as demonstrated by acute allergic symptoms, whey-specific IgE in serum, and the activation of mast cells upon a challenge with whey protein. The elicited allergic response coincided with reduced percentages of regulatory T (Treg) and T helper 17 (Th17) cells, matching decreased levels of H3 and/or H4 histone acetylation at pivotal Treg and Th17 loci, an epigenetic status favoring lower gene expression. In addition, histone acetylation levels at the crucial T helper 1 (Th1) loci were decreased, most probably preceding the expected reduction in Th1 cells after inducing an allergic response. No changes were observed for T helper 2 cells. However, increased histone acetylation levels, promoting gene expression, were observed at the signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (Stat6) gene, a proallergic B cell locus, which was in line with the presence of whey-specific IgE. In conclusion, the observed histone acetylation changes are pathobiologically in line with the successful induction of cow’s milk allergy, to which they might have also contributed mechanistically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Article
Offspring Birth Weight Is Associated with Specific Preconception Maternal Food Group Intake: Data from a Linked Population-Based Birth Cohort
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 3172; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12103172 - 16 Oct 2020
Viewed by 799
Abstract
The preconception period has been recognized as one of the earliest sensitive windows for human development. Maternal dietary intake during this period may influence the oocyte quality, as well as placenta and early embryonic development during the first trimester of pregnancy. Previous studies [...] Read more.
The preconception period has been recognized as one of the earliest sensitive windows for human development. Maternal dietary intake during this period may influence the oocyte quality, as well as placenta and early embryonic development during the first trimester of pregnancy. Previous studies have found associations between macronutrient intake during preconception and pregnancy outcomes. However, as food products consist of multiple macro- and micronutrients, it is difficult to relate this to dietary intake behavior. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the association between intake of specific food groups during the preconception period with birth weight, using data from the Perined-Lifelines linked birth cohort. The Perined-Lifelines birth cohort consists of women who delivered a live-born infant at term after being enrolled in a large population-based cohort study (The Lifelines Cohort). Information on birth outcome was obtained by linkage to the Dutch perinatal registry (Perined). In total, we included 1698 women with data available on birth weight of the offspring and reliable detailed information on dietary intake using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire obtained before pregnancy. Based on the 2015 Dutch Dietary Guidelines and recent literature 22 food groups were formulated. Birth weight was converted into gestational age-adjusted z-scores. Multivariable linear regression was performed, adjusted for intake of other food groups and covariates (maternal BMI, maternal age, smoking, alcohol, education level, urbanization level, parity, sex of newborn, ethnicity). Linear regression analysis, adjusted for covariates and intake of energy (in kcal) (adjusted z score [95% CI], P) showed that intake of food groups “artificially sweetened products” and “vegetables” was associated with increased birth weight (resp. (β = 0.001 [95% CI 0.000 to 0.001, p = 0.002]), (β = 0.002 [95% CI 0.000 to 0.003, p = 0.03])). Intake of food group “eggs” was associated with decreased birth weight (β = −0.093 [95% CI −0.174 to −0.013, p = 0.02]). Intake in food groups was expressed in 10 g per 1000 kcal to be able to draw conclusions on clinical relevance given the bigger portion size of the food groups. In particular, preconception intake of “artificially sweetened products” was shown to be associated with increased birth weight. Artificial sweeteners were introduced into our diets with the intention to reduce caloric intake and normalize blood glucose levels, without compromising on the preference for sweet food products. Our findings highlight the need to better understand how artificial sweeteners may affect the metabolism of the mother and her offspring already from preconception onwards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
Article
Maternal High-Fat–High-Carbohydrate Diet-Induced Obesity Is Associated with Increased Appetite in Peripubertal Male but Not Female C57Bl/6J Mice
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 2919; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102919 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
Diet-induced maternal obesity might play a critical role in altering hypothalamic development, predisposing the offspring to obesity and metabolic disease later in life. The objective of this study was to describe both phenotypic and molecular sex differences in peripubertal offspring energy homeostasis, using [...] Read more.
Diet-induced maternal obesity might play a critical role in altering hypothalamic development, predisposing the offspring to obesity and metabolic disease later in life. The objective of this study was to describe both phenotypic and molecular sex differences in peripubertal offspring energy homeostasis, using a mouse model of maternal obesity induced by a high-fat–high-carbohydrate (HFHC) diet. We report that males, not females, exposed to a maternal HFHC diet had increased energy intake. Males exposed to a maternal HFHC diet had a 15% increased meal size and a 46% increased frequency, compared to the control (CON) males, without a change in energy expenditure. CON and HFHC offspring did not differ in body weight, composition, or plasma metabolic profile. HFHC diet caused decreased hypothalamic glucocorticoid expression, which was further decreased in males compared to females. Maternal weight, maternal caloric intake, and male offspring meal frequency were inversely correlated with offspring hypothalamic insulin receptor (IR) expression. There was a significant interaction between maternal-diet exposure and sex in hypothalamic IR. Based on our preclinical data, we suggest that interventions focusing on normalizing maternal nutrition might be considered to attenuate nutritional influences on obesity programming and curb the continuing rise in obesity rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Article
Novel Dietary Proteins Selectively Affect Intestinal Health In Vitro after Clostridium difficile-Secreted Toxin A Exposure
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2782; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092782 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1455
Abstract
Bacterial gastroenteritis forms a burden on a global scale, both socially and economically. The Gram-positive bacterium Clostridium difficile is an inducer of gastrointestinal bacterial infections, often triggered following disruption of the microbiota by broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat other conditions. The clinical manifestatiaons, e.g., [...] Read more.
Bacterial gastroenteritis forms a burden on a global scale, both socially and economically. The Gram-positive bacterium Clostridium difficile is an inducer of gastrointestinal bacterial infections, often triggered following disruption of the microbiota by broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat other conditions. The clinical manifestatiaons, e.g., diarrhea, are driven by its toxins secretion, toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB). Current therapies are focused on discontinuing patient medication, including antibiotics. However, relapse rates upon therapy are high (20–25%). Here, eighteen dietary proteins were evaluated for their capacity to restore gut health upon C. difficile-derived TcdA exposure. We used bioengineered intestinal tubules to assess proteins for their beneficial effects by examining the epithelial barrier, cell viability, brush-border enzyme activity, IL-6 secretion, IL-8 secretion and nitric oxide (NO) levels upon TcdA challenge. TcdA effectively disrupted the epithelial barrier, increased mitochondrial activity, but did not affect alkaline phosphatase activity, IL-6, IL-8 and NO levels. Intervention with dietary proteins did not show a protective effect on epithelial barrier integrity or mitochondrial activity. However, bovine plasma and potato protein increased alkaline phosphatase activity, egg-white protein increased IL-6 and IL-8 release and wheat, lesser mealworm and yeast protein increased NO levels after TcdA exposure. Hence, dietary proteins can influence parameters involved in intestinal physiology and immune activation suggesting that supplementation with specific dietary proteins may be of benefit during C. difficile infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Review

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Review
Perinatal and Early-Life Nutrition, Epigenetics, and Allergy
Nutrients 2021, 13(3), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030724 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3084
Abstract
Epidemiological studies have shown a dramatic increase in the incidence and the prevalence of allergic diseases over the last several decades. Environmental triggers including risk factors (e.g., pollution), the loss of rural living conditions (e.g., farming conditions), and nutritional status (e.g., maternal, breastfeeding) [...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies have shown a dramatic increase in the incidence and the prevalence of allergic diseases over the last several decades. Environmental triggers including risk factors (e.g., pollution), the loss of rural living conditions (e.g., farming conditions), and nutritional status (e.g., maternal, breastfeeding) are considered major contributors to this increase. The influences of these environmental factors are thought to be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms which are heritable, reversible, and biologically relevant biochemical modifications of the chromatin carrying the genetic information without changing the nucleotide sequence of the genome. An important feature characterizing epigenetically-mediated processes is the existence of a time frame where the induced effects are the strongest and therefore most crucial. This period between conception, pregnancy, and the first years of life (e.g., first 1000 days) is considered the optimal time for environmental factors, such as nutrition, to exert their beneficial epigenetic effects. In the current review, we discussed the impact of the exposure to bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungal components, microbiome metabolites, and specific nutritional components (e.g., polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), vitamins, plant- and animal-derived microRNAs, breast milk) on the epigenetic patterns related to allergic manifestations. We gave insight into the epigenetic signature of bioactive milk components and the effects of specific nutrition on neonatal T cell development. Several lines of evidence suggest that atypical metabolic reprogramming induced by extrinsic factors such as allergens, viruses, pollutants, diet, or microbiome might drive cellular metabolic dysfunctions and defective immune responses in allergic disease. Therefore, we described the current knowledge on the relationship between immunometabolism and allergy mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. The knowledge as presented will give insight into epigenetic changes and the potential of maternal and post-natal nutrition on the development of allergic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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Review
Prenatal Amino Acid Supplementation to Improve Fetal Growth: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2535; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092535 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
Aberrant fetal growth remains a leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality and is associated with a risk of developing non-communicable diseases later in life. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis combining human and animal studies to assess whether prenatal amino acid [...] Read more.
Aberrant fetal growth remains a leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality and is associated with a risk of developing non-communicable diseases later in life. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis combining human and animal studies to assess whether prenatal amino acid (AA) supplementation could be a promising approach to promote healthy fetal growth. PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane libraries were searched to identify studies orally supplementing the following AA groups during gestation: (1) arginine family, (2) branched chain (BCAA), and (3) methyl donors. The primary outcome was fetal/birth weight. Twenty-two human and 89 animal studies were included in the systematic review. The arginine family and, especially, arginine itself were studied the most. Our meta-analysis showed beneficial effects of arginine and (N-Carbamyl) glutamate (NCG) but not aspartic acid and citrulline on fetal/birth weight. However, no effects were reported when an isonitrogenous control diet was included. BCAA and methyl donor supplementation did not affect fetal/birth weight. Arginine family supplementation, in particular arginine and NCG, improves fetal growth in complicated pregnancies. BCAA and methyl donor supplementation do not seem to be as promising in targeting fetal growth. Well-controlled research in complicated pregnancies is needed before ruling out AA supplements or preferring arginine above other AAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perinatal Nutrition)
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