Race-Dependent Protective Effect of Maternal Vitamin D on Childhood Asthma

A cohort from the CANDLE study was assessed to determine if race plays a role in the protective effect of maternal vitamin D levels on childhood asthma.

This article is part of Pulmonology Advisor‘s coverage of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, taking place in Orlando, Florida. Our staff will report on medical research related to asthma and other respiratory conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAAAI/WAO 2018.

ORLANDO — Increased prenatal vitamin D levels in mothers may offer some protection against childhood asthma in their offspring, according to research presented at the 2018 joint congress of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the World Allergy Organization, held March 2-5, 2018, in Orlando, Florida. 

However, the protective effect appears to be race dependent, with higher maternal vitamin D levels offering some protective effect in the children of white women that is not seen in their African American counterparts.

Researchers in this study relied on a dataset containing second-trimester vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]) plasma levels.  The protective effect was found in white women at an interquartile range increase over the median of 25.0 ng/mL (15-27 ng/mL). In African American women, however, no such relationship was found.

The determination of current asthma in the study was based on parental report of physician diagnosis, as well as symptoms or use of asthma medications within the last 12 months for children at the ages of 4 to 6 years. All dyads included term, non-low-birth-weight children.

Investigators determined this information using mother-infant dyads enrolled in the Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development in Early Childhood (CANDLE) study cohort.  The aim of CANDLE is to identify factors during pregnancy that can affect neonatal outcomes. 

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Although the results suggest “a potentially different relationship between prenatal vitamin D status and child asthma by maternal race, with a trend towards a protective effect in white women that is not seen in [African American] women,” more research on the relationship between maternal prenatal vitamin D status investigators and the development of childhood asthma is warranted.

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Carroll KN, Adams SN, Gebretsadik T, et al. Association between maternal prenatal vitamin D concentration and child asthma. Poster presentation at: 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress; March 2-5, 2018; Orlando, FL. Abstract 18.