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Associations of cord leptin and cord insulin with adiposity and blood pressure in White British and Pakistani children aged 4/5 years

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posted on 2020-02-11, 11:01 authored by Jane West, Gillian Santorelli, Paul Collings, Daniel Bingham, Peter Whincup, Naveed Sattar, Tom Norris, John Wright, Debbie A Lawlor
Background: Cord leptin and cord insulin concentrations may be important biomarkers of child adiposity and cardiovascular health, especially in populations with an increased long-term risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to determine whether cord leptin and insulin are associated with adiposity and early cardiovascular health at age 4/5, and whether any associations differ between White British and Pakistani children. Methods: Using bi-ethnic cohort data from 6060 mother-offspring pairs (2717 (44.8%) White British, 3343 (55.2%) Pakistani), we examined associations of cord leptin and insulin with adiposity (BMI, skinfold thickness) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure at age 4/5. Results: Cord leptin and insulin were higher in Pakistani compared to White British children (7.4 ng/ml versus 6.7 ng/ml and 4.1 mU/L versus 3.63 mU/L, respectively). Associations with adiposity measurements were similar in both groups and close to the null value. For example, each 10 ng/ml higher cord leptin was associated with a difference in mean childhood BMI of 0.10 kg/m2 (95% CI 0.01, 0.19) in White British, 0.01 kg/m2 (95% CI -0.08, 0.10) in Pakistani and 0.04 kg/m2 (95% CI -0.02, 0.11) in both groups combined.  Associations with systolic and diastolic blood pressure were also close to the null and consistent in both groups. Conclusions: We found no evidence that cord leptin or insulin were likely to be valuable biomarkers for predicting later adiposity and blood pressure in White British or Pakistani children. For now, other factors such as family history and social-economic status may be more useful markers of risk.


Wellcome Trust (WT101597MA)

UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) (MR/N024397/1)

British Heart Foundation (CS/16/4/32482)

US National Institute of Health (R01 DK10324) and European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no 669545

UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Population Health Scientist Postdoctoral Award (MR/K021656/1)

UK MRC funding (MC_UU_00011/1-7)

NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire and Humber (NIHR CLAHRC YH) (www.clahrc-yh.nihr.ac.uk)

NIHR Clinical Research Network



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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Dr Tom Norris. Deposit date: 10 February 2020

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