Prepregnant Obesity of Mothers in a Multiethnic Cohort Is Associated with Cord Blood Metabolomic Changes in Offspring

Ryan J. Schlueter, Fadhl M. Al-Akwaa, Paula A. Benny, Alexandra Gurary, Guoxiang Xie, Wei Jia, Shaw J. Chun, Ingrid Chern, Lana X. Garmire*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal obesity has become a growing global health concern that may predispose the offspring to medical conditions later in life. However, the metabolic link between maternal prepregnant obesity and healthy offspring has not yet been fully elucidated. In this study, we conducted a case-control study using a coupled untargeted and targeted metabolomic approach from the newborn cord blood metabolomes associated with a matched maternal prepregnant obesity cohort of 28 cases and 29 controls. The subjects were recruited from multiethnic populations in Hawaii, including rarely reported Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI). We found that maternal obesity was the most important factor contributing to differences in cord blood metabolomics. Using an elastic net regularization-based logistic regression model, we identified 29 metabolites as potential early-life biomarkers manifesting intrauterine effect of maternal obesity, with accuracy as high as 0.947 after adjusting for clinical confounding (maternal and paternal age, ethnicity, parity, and gravidity). We validated the model results in a subsequent set of samples (N = 30) with an accuracy of 0.822. Among the metabolites, six metabolites (galactonic acid, butenylcarnitine, 2-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid, phosphatidylcholine diacyl C40:3, 1,5-anhydrosorbitol, and phosphatidylcholine acyl-alkyl 40:3) were individually and significantly different between the maternal obese and normal-weight groups. Interestingly, hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid showed significantly higher levels in cord blood from the NHPI group compared to that from Asian and Caucasian groups. In summary, significant associations were observed between maternal prepregnant obesity and offspring metabolomic alternation at birth, revealing the intergenerational impact of maternal obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1361-1374
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • analysis
  • bioinformatics
  • metabolite
  • metabolomics
  • mother
  • native Hawaiian
  • obesity
  • polynesian


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