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A Randomized Trial of Maternal Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation to Reduce Inflammation in Extremely Preterm Infants

Valentine, Christina J.*,†,‡; Dingess, Kelly A.§; Kleiman, Jeanne||; Morrow, Ardythe L.*; Rogers, Lynette K.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: September 2019 - Volume 69 - Issue 3 - p 388–392
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002375
Short Communication: Nutrition

ABSTRACT Maternal supplementation with 1000 mg/day docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) provides third trimester DHA accretion levels in breast milk for the preterm infant. We hypothesized that DHA supplementation to mothers providing breastmilk for extremely preterm infants would result in decreased inflammatory markers, in the infant. Mother/infant dyads (n = 27) were enrolled at birth and mothers were assigned to receive 200 or 1000 mg/day of DHA. Milk and plasma samples were analyzed for fatty acids and inflammatory markers. Decreases in inflammation were observed in both maternal and infant plasma and correlated with red blood cell (RBC) DHA levels. The fact that maternal DHA supplementation decreases infant markers of inflammation implies that DHA, delivered through breastmilk, has the potential to decrease inflammation in the infant.

*The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Reckitt Benckiser, Evansville, IN

Central Ohio Newborn Medicine, Columbus, OH

§Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

||Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Center for Infectious Diseases, Cincinnati

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lynette K. Rogers, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, Principal Investigator, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH (e-mail:

Received 17 August, 2018

Accepted 22 March, 2019

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

Registered at; NCT01732874 (

This study was supported in part by National Institute of Health grant R01AT006880 (Rogers L.K./Valentine, C.J.), The University of Cincinnati- KL2TR000078 (Valentine, C.J.); Expecta® DHA supplements (DSM Nutritional Lipids) were provided by in kind support from Mead Johnson Nutrition (M.J.N.); and Faculty Support (Valentine, C.J.) from the Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital (CCHMC), Cincinnati, OH.

C.J.V. is currently the medical director at RB (formerly MJN), but the study was conducted while she was Assistant Professor in The Division of Neonatology at CCHMC.

© 2019 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,