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Pregnancy supplementation of Gambian mothers with calcium carbonate alters mid-childhood IGF1 in a sex-specific manner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ann Prentice, Kate A. Ward, Shailja Nigdikar, Sophie Hawkesworth, Sophie E. Moore

Original languageEnglish
Early online date19 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2018


King's Authors


Context Sex-specific effects of pregnancy calcium carbonate supplementation have been reported in 8–12 year old Gambian children, indicating faster growth in boys but slower growth in girls born to calcium-supplemented mothers. Objective To determine whether the pregnancy supplement resulted in sex-specific effects on offspring IGF1 and other growth-related indices in mid-childhood. Design Analysis of archived data obtained in mid-childhood from the children of rural Gambian mothers who had been randomised to 1500 mgCa/d (Ca) or placebo (P) from 20 weeks pregnancy to delivery (ISRCTN96502494). Participants and methods Of the 526 children born and followed in infancy, 290 had early-morning, fasting plasma assayed for IGF1, IGFBP3, leptin, insulin and calcium-related indices and had anthropometry performed at age 7.5 (SD1.2) years (N/group: Males(M)-Ca = 64, Females(F)-Ca = 77; M-P = 76, F-P = 73). Sex-specific effects of maternal supplementation were considered using regression with sexes separated and together to test for sex ∗ supplement interactions. Results Boys had lower IGF1, IGFBP3, leptin and insulin than girls (P ≤ 0.004). IGF1 was higher in M-Ca than M-P (+14.2 (SE7.7)%, P = 0.05) but lower in F-Ca than F-P (−17.8 (SE7.4)%, P = 0.01); sex ∗ supplement interaction P = 0.001. IGF1 concentrations (ng/ml, geometric mean [−1SE,+1SE]) were M-Ca = 78.1[4.3,4.5], M-P = 67.8[3.4,3.6]; F-Ca = 99.5[4.8,5.1], F-P = 118.9[6.4,6.8]. Similar sex ∗ supplement interactions were seen for IGFBP3 and IGF1-adjusted-for-IGFBP3 but group differences were smaller. There were no significant supplement effects on the other biochemical indices. Conclusions Calcium carbonate supplementation of pregnant Gambian mothers resulted in higher IGF1 in boys and lower IGF1 in girls during mid-childhood, consistent with the reported maternal supplement effects on growth of the offspring in later childhood.

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