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Does vitamin D supplementation in infancy reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia?


Vitamin D has been suggested to affect the balance between T helper (Th1) and (Th2) type cytokines by favouring Th2 domination. We investigated the association between infant vitamin D supplementation and later pre-eclampsia, a disorder suggested to be dominated by Th1 response. We used data on 2969 women born in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 of whom 68 (2.3%) had pre-eclampsia in their first pregnancy. Risk of pre-eclampsia was halved (OR 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.26–0.92) in participants who had received vitamin D supplementation regularly during the first year of life and this association was not affected by adjustment for own birth order, birth weight, gestational age, social class in 1966 and hospitalizations or pregnancy-induced hypertension of their mothers. Together with earlier observations on a reduced risk of type 1 diabetes after vitamin D supplementation, these data suggest that vitamin D intake in infancy may affect long-term programming of the immune response pattern.

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This work was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Social and Health Affairs, Oulu University Hospital, and the BUPA Foundation. EH is Department of Health (UK) Public Health Career Scientist. Research at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust benefits from R&D funding received from the NHS Executive.

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Correspondence to E Hyppönen.

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Guarantor: E Hyppönen.

Contributors: EH had the study idea, carried out the analyses and wrote the paper. AP reviewed the hospital records and certified the diagnoses. Thirty-one year survey was designed by AP, ALH and MRJ. US managed the data and commented statistical methods. All authors participated in the evaluation of the results and contributed to the final version of the paper.

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Hyppönen, E., Hartikainen, AL., Sovio, U. et al. Does vitamin D supplementation in infancy reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia?. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 1136–1139 (2007).

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  • vitamin D
  • pre-eclampsia
  • supplementation
  • immunologic factors
  • cohort study

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