Prenatal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation does not affect offspring telomere length and F2-isoprostanes at 12 years: A double blind, randomized controlled trial

V. H L See, E. Mas, S. Burrows, N. J. O'Callaghan, M. Fenech, S. L. Prescott, L. J. Beilin, R. C. Huang, T. A. Mori

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Oxidative stress and nutritional deficiency may influence the excessive shortening of the telomeric ends of chromosomes. It is known that stress exposure in intrauterine life can produce variations in telomere length (TL), thereby potentially setting up a long-term trajectory for disease susceptibility. Objective To assess the effect of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 LCPUFA) supplementation during pregnancy on telomere length and oxidative stress in offspring at birth and 12 years of age (12y). Design In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, 98 pregnant atopic women were randomised to 4 g/day of n-3 LCPUFA or control (olive oil [OO]), from 20 weeks gestation until delivery. Telomere length as a marker of cell senescence and plasma and urinary F2-isoprostanes as a marker of oxidative stress were measured in the offspring at birth and 12y. Results Maternal n-3 LCPUFA supplementation did not influence offspring telomere length at birth or at 12y with no changes over time. Telomere length was not associated with F2-isoprostanes or erythrocyte total n-3 fatty acids. Supplementation significantly reduced cord plasma F2-isoprostanes (P<0.001), with a difference in the change over time between groups (P=0.05). However, the differences were no longer apparent at 12y. Between-group differences for urinary F2-isoprostanes at birth and at 12y were non-significant with no changes over time. Conclusions This study does not support the hypothesis that n-3 LCPUFA during pregnancy provides sustained effects on postnatal oxidative stress and telomere length as observed in the offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-55
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Sept 2016


  • Infants
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Telomere length
  • n-3 fatty acid supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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