Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in endocrinology
Endocrine Abstracts (2024) 99 P312 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.99.P312

ECE2024 Poster Presentations Pituitary and Neuroendocrinology (120 abstracts)

Maternal cortisol levels in pregnancy and intelligence quotient in children at 7 years of age. odense child cohort

Anja Fenger Dreyer 1,2 , Tina Kold Jensen 3,4,5 , Iben Have Beck 3 , Dorte Glintborg 1,2 , Niels Bilenberg 2,6 & Marianne Andersen 1,2

1Odense University Hospital, Department of Endocrinology, Odense C; 2University of Southern Denmark, Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Odense C; 3University of Southern Denmark, Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Environmental Medicine, Odense C, Denmark; 4Odense University Hospital, Odense Child Cohort, Hans Christian Andersen Hospital for Children, Odense C, Denmark; 5University of Southern Denmark, OPEN Patient data Explorative Network (OPEN), Odense C, Denmark; 6University of Southern Denmark, Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Odense, Mental Health Services in the Region of Southern Denmark, Odense C, Denmark

Background: Maternal cortisol levels increase during pregnancy and prenatal cortisol exposure have been linked to cognitive function in childhood. Higher activity of the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase type 2 (11β-HSD2) downregulates the amount of maternal cortisol crossing the placenta by inactivation of cortisol to cortisone. In childhood, boys perform significantly poorer in tests of intelligence than girls.

Aim: To investigate associations between maternal 3rd trimester cortisol or cortisone and child IQ at 7-years-of-age, and to consider the impact of child sex.

Method: Odense Child Cohort is a prospective observational cohort study. In this current study, 943 mother-child dyads were included. Exposure was maternal 24 hour urine (u-) cortisol and cortisone, and fasting morning serum (s-) cortisol, obtained in 3rd trimester of pregnancy and measured by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Outcome was child intelligence at age 7 years assessed by trained psychologists using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children version V. Estimations of full scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) and verbal comprehension index (VCI) were calculated.

Results: Women carrying a boy had significantly lower s-cortisol levels than women carrying a girl (825 vs 865 nmol/l, P= 0.005). Girls had a significant higher score in FSIQ (101.2 vs 98.2, P< 0.001) and VCI (101.1 vs 98.9, P= 0.004) compared to boys. In girls, levels of maternal u-cortisone were positively associated with VCI (B (95%-CI) = 6.2 (1.2; 11.2). In boys, maternal s-cortisol was negatively associated with FSIQ (B (95%-CI) = -3.9 (-6.5; -1.3)) and VCI (B (95%-CI) = -4.4 (-7.0; -1.9)). Child sex had a significant interaction with u-cortisone and s-cortisol in the associations.

Conclusion: Lower prenatal cortisol exposure of the fetus seems beneficial for cognitive development at 7-years-of-age. Girls were protected against high cortisol exposure via the inactivation of cortisol to cortisone by 11β-HSD2, while boys were more susceptible to high maternal cortisol levels. Child sex differences in prenatal cortisol exposure and cognitive development should be considered in future studies.

Volume 99

26th European Congress of Endocrinology

Stockholm, Sweden
11 May 2024 - 14 May 2024

European Society of Endocrinology 

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