Both pre-and early postnatal supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), arachi-donic acid (AA) and folate have been related to neural development, but their long-term effects on later neural function remain unclear. We evaluated the long-term effects of maternal prenatal supplementation with fish-oil (FO), 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), placebo or FO + 5-MTHF, as well as the role of fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster polymorphisms, on their offspring’s processing speed at later school age. This study was conducted in NUHEAL children at 7.5 (n = 143) and 9 years of age (n = 127). Processing speed tasks were assessed using Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Children Color Trails Test (CCTT) and Stroop Color and Word Test (SCWT). Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, folate and total homocysteine (tHcy) levels were determined at delivery from maternal and cord blood samples. FADS and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677 C > T genetic polymorphisms were analyzed. Mixed models (linear and logistic) were performed. There were significant differences in processing speed performance among children at different ages (p < 0.001). The type of prenatal supplementation had no effect on processing speed in children up to 9 years. Secondary exploratory analyses indicated that children born to mothers with higher AA/DHA ratio at delivery (p < 0.001) and heterozygotes for FADS1 rs174556 (p < 0.05) showed better performance in processing speed at 9 years. Negative associations between processing speed scores and maternal tHcy levels at delivery were found. Our findings suggest speed processing development in children up to 9 years could be related to maternal factors, including AA/DHA and tHcy levels, and their genetic background, mainly FADS polymorphism. These considerations support that maternal prenatal supplementation should be quantitatively adequate and individualized to obtain better brain development and mental performance in the offspring.
FörderungenLMU University Hospitals European Commission European Research Council Advanced Grant META-GROWTH ERC-2012AdG Erasmus Plus Programme Early Nutrition eAcademy Southeast Asia Erasmus Plus Programme Capacity Building to Improve Early Nutrition and Health in South Africa EU Interreg Programme Focus in CD-CE111 European Joint Programming Initiative Project NutriPROGRAM and EndObesity German Ministry of Education and Research, Berlin German Research Council Else Kroner-Fresenius-Foundation Commission of the European Community