Higher Maternal Cortisol Associated with Lower Blood Pressure in Offspring from 3 Months to 5 Years of Age in the Odense Child Cohort

Hajir Al-Jorani, Richard Christian Jensen*, Mikaela T.E. Jonasson, Anna Birukov, Anne Vibeke Schmedes, Henrik Thybo Christesen, Anja F. Dreyer, Tina K. Jensen, Dorte Glintborg, Boye L. Jensen, Marianne S. Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Synthetic glucocorticoid exposure in late pregnancy may be associated with higher blood pressure in offspring. We hypothesized that endogenous cortisol in pregnancy relates to offspring blood pressure (OBP). Objective: To investigate associations between maternal cortisol status in third trimester pregnancy and OBP. Methods: We included 1317 mother-child pairs from Odense Child Cohort, an observational prospective cohort. Serum (s-) cortisol and 24-hour urine (u-) cortisol and cortisone were assessed in gestational week 28. Offspring systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were measured at age 3, 18 months, and 3 and 5 years. Associations between maternal cortisol and OBP were examined by mixed effects linear models. Results: All significant associations between maternal cortisol and OBP were negative. In boys in pooled analyses, 1 nmol/L increase in maternal s-cortisol was associated with average decrease in systolic blood pressure (β=-0.003 mmHg [95% CI, -0.005 to -0.0003]) and diastolic blood pressure (β=-0.002 mmHg [95% CI, -0.004 to -0.0004]) after adjusting for confounders. At 3 months of age, higher maternal s-cortisol was significantly associated with lower systolic blood pressure (β=-0.01 mmHg [95% CI, -0.01 to -0.004]) and diastolic blood pressure (β=-0.010 mmHg [95% CI, -0.012 to -0.011]) in boys after adjusting for confounders, which remained significant after adjusting for potential intermediate factors. Conclusions: We found temporal sex dimorphic negative associations between maternal s-cortisol levels and OBP, with significant findings in boys. We conclude that physiological maternal cortisol is not a risk factor for higher blood pressure in offspring up to 5 years of age.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHypertension
Volume80
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)828-836
ISSN0194-911X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • fetal programming
  • maternal cortisol
  • offspring blood pressure
  • pregnancy
  • sexual dimorphism

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