University of Oulu

Sammallahti, S., Holmlund-Suila, E., Zou, R. et al. Prenatal maternal and cord blood vitamin D concentrations and negative affectivity in infancy. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 32, 601–609 (2023).

Prenatal maternal and cord blood vitamin D concentrations and negative affectivity in infancy

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Author: Sammallahti, Sara1,2; Holmlund-Suila, Elisa3,4; Zou, Runyu1;
Organizations: 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus MC, Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Social and Behavioral Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
3Pediatric Research Center, Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
4Research Program for Clinical and Molecular Metabolism, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
6National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland
7PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
8Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
9Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
10Psychology/Welfare Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, 33014, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-06-28


Higher maternal vitamin D concentration during pregnancy is associated with better child mental health. Negative affectivity, an early-emerging temperamental trait, indicates an increased risk of psychopathology. We investigated if maternal early/mid-pregnancy 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and neonatal cord blood 25(OH)D concentrations are associated with Negative affectivity in infancy. We studied term-born infants from the vitamin D Intervention in Infants study (VIDI, n = 777, follow-up rate 80%, Finland), and the Generation R Study (n = 1505, follow-up rate 40%, Netherlands). We measured maternal serum 25(OH)D at 6–27 weeks (VIDI) or 18–25 weeks (Generation R) of pregnancy, and cord blood 25(OH)D at birth (both cohorts). Caregivers rated infant Negative affectivity at 11.7 months (VIDI) or 6.5 months (Generation R) using the Revised Infant Behavior Questionnaire. Using linear regression, we tested associations between 25(OH)D and Negative affectivity adjusted for infant age, sex, season of 25(OH)D measurement, maternal age, education, smoking, and body-mass-index. Per 10 nmol/l increase in maternal early/mid-pregnancy 25(OH)D, infant Negative affectivity decreased by 0.02 standard deviations (95% confidence interval [CI] − 0.06, − 0.004) in VIDI, and 0.03 standard deviations (95% CI − 0.03, − 0.01) in Generation R. Cord blood 25(OH)D was associated with Negative affectivity in Generation R (− 0.03, 95% CI − 0.05, − 0.01), but not VIDI (0.00, 95% CI − 0.02, 0.02). Lower maternal 25(OH)D concentrations were consistently associated with higher infant Negative affectivity, while associations between cord blood 25(OH)D concentrations and Negative affectivity were less clear. Maternal vitamin D status during early- and mid-pregnancy may be linked with early-emerging differences in offspring behavior.

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Series: European child & adolescent psychiatry
ISSN: 1018-8827
ISSN-E: 1435-165X
ISSN-L: 1018-8827
Volume: 32
Issue: 4
Pages: 601 - 609
DOI: 10.1007/s00787-021-01894-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: The general design of the Generation R Study was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport. The work of the authors involved in the Generation R Study in this project was supported by the LEaDing Fellows EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Programme and the Orion Research Foundation (Dr Sammallahti); NWO Vici Grant 016.VICI.170.200 (Dr Tiemeier); and Stichting Volksbond Rotterdam, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Grant 27853, and the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program LifeCycle grant No. 733206 (Dr El Marroun). The work of the authors involved in the VIDI study in this project was supported by the Academy of Finland (Dr Heinonen [grant n:o 345057]; Dr Outi Mäkitie, and Dr Lahti-Pulkkinen), by the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation and the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Dr Outi Mäkitie), by the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation and the Juho Vainio Foundation (Dr Hauta-alus), by the Victoriastiftelsen, the Instrumentarium Science Foundation, the Paulo Foundation, and the Orion Research Foundation (Dr Enlund-Cerullo), and by Grants from Special Governmental Subsidy to Clinical Research, the Foundation for Pediatric Research in Finland, and Finska Läkaresällskapet (Dr Andersson). The funding sources had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, the interpretation or reporting of the results, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
EU Grant Number: (733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit