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Gestational vitamin D and the risk of multiple sclerosis in offspring

Authors

  • Fariba Mirzaei MD, MPH, ScD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    • Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, Building 2, 3rd floor, Rm 347A, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Karin B. Michels ScD, PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology Center, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Kassandra Munger ScD,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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  • Eilis O'Reilly ScD,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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  • Tanuja Chitnis MD,

    1. Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Michele R. Forman PhD, MS,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
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  • Edward Giovannucci MD, ScD,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Bernard Rosner PhD,

    1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
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  • Alberto Ascherio MD, DPH

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
    3. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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Abstract

Objective:

Vitamin D may have a protective role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS), but the effect of gestational vitamin D on adult onset MS has not been studied.

Methods:

In 2001, 35,794 mothers of participants of the Nurses' Health Study II completed a questionnaire inquiring about their experiences and diet during pregnancy with their nurse daughters. We studied the association of maternal milk intake, maternal dietary vitamin D intake, and predicted maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) during pregnancy and their daughters' risk of developing MS.

Results:

MS was diagnosed in 199 women. The relative risk of MS was lower among women born to mothers with high milk or vitamin D intake during pregnancy. The multivariate adjusted rate ratio (RR) of MS was 0.62 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.40–0.95; p trend = 0.001) for nurses whose mothers consumed 2 to 3 glasses of milk per day compared with those whose mothers consumed <3 glasses per month, and 0.57 (95% CI, 0.35–0.91; p trend = 0.002) for nurses with mothers in the highest quintile of dietary vitamin D intake compared with those in the lowest. The predicted 25(OH)D level in the pregnant mothers was also inversely associated with the risk of MS in their daughters. Comparing extreme quintiles, the adjusted RR was 0.59; (95% CI, 0.37–0.92; p trend = 0.002).

Interpretation:

Higher maternal milk and vitamin D intake during pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of developing MS in offspring. ANN NEUROL 2011;

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