Prospective study over two decades in Aarhus City, Denmark
BACKGROUND: Studies investigating the association between maternal vitamin D status and offspring bone mass measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) during childhood have shown conflicting results. PURPOSE: We used occurrence of bone fractures up to the age of 18 as a measure reflecting offspring bone mass and related that to maternal vitamin D status. METHODS: The Danish Fetal Origins 1988 Cohort recruited 965 pregnant women during 1988-89 at their 30th gestation week antenatal midwife visit. A blood sample was drawn and serum was stored, which later was analyzed for the concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) by the liquid chromatography coupled with a tandem mass spectrometric method (LC-MS/MS). Outcome was diagnosis of first time bone fractures extracted from the Danish National Patient Register. RESULTS: Vitamin D status was available for 850 women. The median (5th-95th percentile) 25(OH)D was 76.2 (23.0-152.1) nmol/l. During follow up 294 children were registered with at least one bone fracture diagnosis. Multivariable Cox regression models using age as the underlying time scale indicated no overall association between maternal vitamin D status and first time bone fractures. However, there was a significantly increased hazard ratio (HR) during childhood for those who had maternal blood drawn in Dec/Jan/Feb compared with Jun/Jul/Aug (HR: 1.75, 95%CI: 1.11-2.74). Adjustment for vitamin D status strengthened this association (1.82, 1.12-2.97), which indicated a potential seasonal impact on offspring fractures independent of maternal vitamin D status. In a sensitivity analysis we found a borderline significant inverse association between continuous concentrations of 25(OH)D and offspring forearm fractures (P = 0.054). CONCLUSION: Overall, our results did not substantiate an association between maternal vitamin D status and offspring bone fractures. Further studies on this subject are needed, but the study populations must be large enough to allow for subdivision of fractures.