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Obstetrics - Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

A Common Genetic Variant at 15q25 Modifies the Associations of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy with Fetal Growth: The Generation R Study
Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Author: Elisabeth T. M. Leermakers et al.

by Elisabeth T. M. Leermakers, H. Rob Taal, Rachel Bakker, Eric A. P. Steegers, Albert Hofman, Vincent W. V. Jaddoe


Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with fetal growth retardation. We examined whether a common genetic variant at chromosome 15q25 (rs1051730), which is known to be involved in nicotine metabolism, modifies the associations of maternal smoking with fetal growth characteristics.


This study was performed in 3,563 European mothers participating in a population-based prospective cohort study from early pregnancy onwards. Smoking was assessed by postal questionnaires and fetal growth characteristics were measured by ultrasound examinations in each trimester of pregnancy.


Among mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy (82.9%), maternal rs1051730 was not consistently associated with any fetal growth characteristic. Among mothers who continued smoking during pregnancy (17.1%), maternal rs1051730 was not associated with head circumference. The T-allele of maternal rs1051730 was associated with a smaller second and third trimester fetal femur length [differences -0.23 mm (95%CI -0.45 to -0.00) and -0.41 mm (95%CI -0.69 to -0.13), respectively] and a smaller birth length [difference -2.61 mm (95%CI -5.32 to 0.11)]. The maternal T-allele of rs1051730 was associated with a lower third trimester estimated fetal weight [difference -33 grams (95%CI -55 to -10)], and tended to be associated with birth weight [difference -38 grams (95%CI -89 to 13)]. This association persisted after adjustment for smoking quantity.


Our results suggest that maternal rs1051730 genotype modifies the associations of maternal smoking during pregnancy with impaired fetal growth in length and weight. These results should be considered as hypothesis generating and indicate the need for large-scale genome wide association studies focusing on gene – fetal smoke exposure interactions.