Prenatal exposure to famine and the development of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes in adulthood across consecutive generations: a population-based cohort study of families in Suihua, China.Am J Clin Nutr 2017; 105(1):221-227AJ
There has been increased recognition that prenatal or perinatal nutrition has an effect on the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in adulthood, although studies that have directly examined whether the effect could be transmitted to the next generation remain sparse.
We investigated the role of prenatal exposure to the Chinese famine in affecting future T2D risk in adulthood in 2 consecutive generations.
A total of 1034 families, including 2068 parents [parental generation (F1)] and 1183 offspring [offspring generation (F2)], were recruited from the Suihua rural area that was affected by the Chinese Famine of 1959-1961. Participants born between 1 October 1959 and 30 September 1961 were defined as famine exposed, and those born between 1 October 1962 and 30 September 1964 were defined as nonexposed. The F2 were classified as having 1) no parent exposed to famine, 2) only a mother exposed to famine, 3) only a father exposed to famine, or 4) both parents exposed to famine. Classical risk factors for T2D as well as fasting-glucose- and oral-glucose-tolerance tests were measured in both the F1 and F2.
Prenatal exposure to famine was associated with elevated risks of hyperglycemia (multivariable-adjusted OR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.51, 2.48) and T2D (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.20, 2.54) in adulthood in F1. Furthermore, compared with the offspring of nonexposed parents, the F2 with exposed parents- especially both exposed parents-had increased hyperglycemia risk (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.12, 3.66) in adulthood.
Prenatal exposure to famine remarkably increases hyperglycemia risk in 2 consecutive generations of Chinese adults independent of known T2D risk factors, which supports the notion that prenatal nutrition plays an important role in the development of T2D across consecutive generations of Chinese adults. This trial was registered at www.chictr.org.cn as ChiCTR-ECH-13003644.