PDS 71: Exposome, Johan Friso Foyer, Floor 1, August 27, 2019, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Background: Newborn telomere length (TL) may be a biomarker of prenatal environmental exposures during fetal development. Shorter TL may predict future cardiorespiratory disease risk and longevity.We prospectively examined the effect of a prenatally-delivered cookstove intervention, and resulting maternal prenatal household air pollution (HAP) exposures, on cord blood mononuclear cell (CBMC) TL.
Methods: The Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Heath Study (GRAPHS) randomized non-smoking pregnant women to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), improved combustion-efficiency biomass stove (BioLIte), or control (3-stone fire). 72-hour personal carbon monoxide (CO) were measured four times and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) measured once over pregnancy. In N=144 mother-infant dyads, venous umbilical cord blood was collected at birth, mononuclear cells isolated, and DNA extracted. Duplex quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to measure the relative amplification of telomere repeat copy number to single gene copy number; samples were run in triplicate. We employed linear regression to determine associations between GRAPHS cookstove arm and exposures on plate pool-normalized CBMC TL, in the entire subset, while exploring interaction by child sex.
Results: Median prenatal CO and PM2.5 exposures were 0.85ppm (IQR 0.52-1.43) and 56.70µg/m3 (IQR 38.35-83.35) respectively. Exposure-response analyses suggest increasing prenatal PM2.5 was associated with reductions in CBMC TL (β=-0.01, SE=0.01, p=0.04, per 1 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5); no association with prenatal CO was seen (β=-0.05, SE=0.08, p=0.51). Infants of mothers randomized to the LPG cookstove had increased CBMC TL, compared to 3-stone fire (β=0.83 SE=0.33, p=0.01). Girls were most affected (Girls β=1.65 SE=0.54, p=0.003; Boys β=-0.09 SE=0.36, p=0.81).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that increased prenatal HAP exposure decreased TL at birth. Conversely, a clean-fuel cookstove intervention reversed this effect; girls were particularly affected. Our findings support the hypothesis that prenatal environmental exposures alter TL setpoint at birth, with potential implications for lifelong health.