Impact of parental obesity on neonatal markers of inflammation and immune response

M. M. Broadney, N. Chahal, K. A. Michels, A. C. McLain, A. Ghassabian, D. A. Lawrence, E. H. Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives:Maternal obesity may influence neonatal and childhood morbidities through increased inflammation and/or altered immune response. Less is known about paternal obesity. We hypothesized that excessive parental weight contributes to elevated inflammation and altered immunoglobulin (Ig) profiles in neonates.Subjects/Methods:In the Upstate KIDS Study maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) was obtained from vital records and paternal BMI from maternal report. Biomarkers were measured from newborn dried blood spots (DBS) among neonates whose parents provided consent. Inflammatory scores were calculated by assigning one point for each of five pro-inflammatory biomarkers above the median and one point for an anti-inflammatory cytokine below the median. Linear regression models and generalized estimating equations were used to estimate mean differences (β) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in the inflammatory score and Ig levels by parental overweight/obesity status compared with normal weight.Results:Among 2974 pregnancies, 51% were complicated by excessive maternal weight (BMI>25), 73% by excessive paternal weight and 28% by excessive gestational weight gain. Maternal BMI categories of overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) and obese class II/III (BMI≥35) were associated with increased neonatal inflammation scores (β=0.12, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.21; P=0.02 and β=0.13, CI: -0.002, 0.26; P=0.05, respectively) but no increase was observed in the obese class I group (BMI 30-34.9). Mothers with class I and class II/III obesity had newborns with increased IgM levels (β=0.11, CI: 0.04, 0.17; P=0.001 and β=0.12, CI: 0.05, 0.19); P<0.001, respectively). Paternal groups of overweight, obese class I and obese class II/III had decreased neonatal IgM levels (β=-0.08, CI: -0.13,-0.03, P=0.001; β=-0.07, CI: -0.13, -0.01, P=0.029 and β=-0.11, CI:-0.19,-0.04, P=0.003, respectively).Conclusions:Excessive maternal weight was generally associated with increased inflammation and IgM supporting previous observations of maternal obesity and immune dysregulation in offspring. The role of paternal obesity requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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