Heterogeneity in cord blood DHA concentration: Towards an explanation

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24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aimed to identify the dietary and non-dietary determinants of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels in umbilical cord blood at delivery. DHA was measured in cord blood plasma phospholipids of 1571 participants from the DOMInO (DHA to Optimize Mother Infant Outcome) randomized controlled trial. Socioeconomic, lifestyle and clinical data relating to the mother and current pregnancy were obtained from all women and their relationships with cord blood DHA assessed. DHA concentrations in the cord plasma phospholipids at delivery covered a 3-4 fold range in both control and DHA groups. The total number of DHA-rich intervention supplement capsules consumed over the course of pregnancy and gestational age at delivery individually explained 21% and 16% respectively of the variation in DHA abundance in the cord blood plasma phospholipids at delivery, but no other clinical or life-style factors explored in this study could account for >2% of the variation. Indeed, more than 65% of the variation remained unaccounted for even when all factors were included in the analysis. These data suggest that factors other than maternal DHA intake have an important role in determining cord blood DHA concentrations at delivery, and may at least partially explain the variation in the response of infants to maternal DHA supplementation reported in published trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2014


  • Cord blood
  • DHA
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pregnancy
  • Supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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