Background and aims: In animal studies, vitamin A deficiency (VAD) during pregnancy has been shown to be associated with a decrease in nephron number and kidney weight of the offspring. At present, it is unclear whether these observations are pertinent to humans. Thus, this study was performed to assess the vitamin A status of a cohort of Egyptian pregnant women and their newborns and to determine the potential effect of maternal VAD during pregnancy on the neonatal kidney size.
Methods: The maternal and cord blood samples were collected for the measurement of serum retinol concentration. Within the first 3 days after delivery, an abdominal ultrasound was performed in all newborns to determine the renal dimensions and volume.
Results: Sixteen (20%) mothers had VAD. The newborns delivered to VAD mothers had significantly lower mean values of cord retinol concentrations and dimensions of both kidneys than the newborns delivered to mothers with vitamin A sufficiency. The maternal serum retinol concentrations were positively correlated with the cord retinol concentrations, the dimensions of both kidneys, and the combined renal volume of their respective newborns.
Conclusion: Maternal VAD during pregnancy may decrease renal size in the infant at birth. The functional implications of this effect warrant further study.
©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston