Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy Are Associated With Offspring Telomere Length: A Longitudinal Mother-Child Study

Kwun Kiu Wong, Feifei Cheng, Di Mao, Cadmon K.P. Lim, Claudia H.T. Tam, Chi Chiu Wang, Lai Yuk Yuen, Michael H.M. Chan, Chung Shun Ho, Mugdha V. Joglekar, Anandwardhan A. Hardikar, Alicia J. Jenkins, Boyd E. Metzger, William L. Lowe, Wing Hung Tam, Ronald C.W. Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a biomarker of biological aging and is associated with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Insufficient maternal vitamin D was associated with increased risk for many diseases and adverse later life outcomes. Objective: This study investigates the relationship between vitamin D levels and offspring LTL at early life. Methods: This observational, longitudinal, hospital-based cohort study included eligible mother-child pairs from the HAPO Hong Kong Field Centre, with 853 offspring at age 6.96±0.44 (mean±SD) years. LTL was measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction while serum vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D2, 25(OH)D3, and 3-epi-25(OH)D3 were measured in maternal blood (at gestation 24-32 weeks) and cord blood by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: LTL at follow-up was significantly shorter in boys compared with girls (P<0.001) at age 7. Childhood LTL was negatively associated with childhood BMI (β±SE=-0.016±0.007)(P=0.02) and HOMA-IR (β±SE=-0.065±0.021)(P=0.002). Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between 25(OH)D and LTL, with covariate adjustments. Childhood LTL was positively correlated with total maternal 25(OH)D (0.048±0.017) (P=0.004) and maternal 3-epi-25(OH)D3 (0.05±0.017) (P=0.003), even after adjustment for covariates. A similar association was also noted for cord 3-epi-25(OH)D3 (0.037±0.018) (P=0.035) after adjustment for offspring sex and age. Conclusion: Our findings suggest 25(OH)D3 and 3-epi-25(OH)D3 in utero may impact on childhood LTLs, highlighting a potential link between maternal vitamin D and biological aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E3901-E3909
JournalJournal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • 3-epi-25(OH)D3
  • early programming
  • longitudinal study
  • maternal vitamin D
  • telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy Are Associated With Offspring Telomere Length: A Longitudinal Mother-Child Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this