January 09, 2020
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Positive associations observed between maternal, umbilical cord and 3-year-old TSH concentrations

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Researchers assessing a cohort of primarily euthyroid mother-child pairs observed positive associations between maternal and cord thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations and maternal and early childhood TSH concentrations, according to findings published in Clinical Endocrinology.

“Our study contributes evidence linking maternal thyroid function during pregnancy and early-life offspring thyroid function,” Brett T. Doherty, PhD, a research associate in the department of epidemiology at Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and colleagues wrote. “Very little prior research has characterized the associations between maternal thyroid hormones and early-life thyroid hormones. Such information about associations of maternal thyroid hormones in pregnancy with newborn and early childhood thyroid hormones may help to identify newborns at risk of insufficient thyroid function through maternal screening in pregnancy. This creates a potential avenue for earlier intervention to reduce the long-term health effects associated with suboptimal thyroid function.”

Doherty and colleagues analyzed thyroid hormone concentrations among 203 mothers recruited at 16 weeks’ gestation, 273 newborns, and 159 children at age 3 years participating in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study between 2003 and 2006 (mean age at delivery, 31 years; 63% white). Researchers used linear regression analysis to estimate associations of maternal thyroid hormones during pregnancy with cord serum thyroid hormones, as well as the associations of maternal and cord thyroid hormones with early childhood TSH.

Thyroid stimulating hormone 2019 
Researchers assessing a cohort of primarily euthyroid mother-child pairs observed positive associations between maternal and cord thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations and maternal and early childhood TSH concentrations.
Source: Adobe Stock

Researchers found that each doubling of maternal TSH was associated with a 16.4% increase in newborn TSH (95% CI, 3.9-30.5), and each doubling of newborn TSH concentrations was associated with a 10.4% increase in child TSH concentrations at age 3 years (95% CI, 0.1-21.7).

Additionally, an interquartile range increase in cord free thyroxine concentrations was associated with an 11.7% decrease in child TSH concentrations at age 3 years (95% CI, –20.2 to –2.3).

“Our study, in addition to other recent studies, provides epidemiologic evidence of the connections between maternal and fetal thyroid hormone concentrations during pregnancy and the perinatal period; however, further investigations are warranted to determine the primary drivers of these relations,” the researchers wrote. – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.