Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Birth Weight, Head Circumference, and Prenatal Exposure to Acrylamide from Maternal Diet: The European Prospective Mother-Child Study (NewGeneris)

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Birth Weight, Head Circumference, and Prenatal Exposure to Acrylamide from Maternal Diet: The European Prospective Mother-Child Study (NewGeneris)

Article excerpt

Acrylamide is neurotoxic in humans and animals, and is classified as a probable human carcinogen [International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 1994]. Occupational expo-sure and smoking were originally regarded as the main sources of exposure to acrylamide in humans (IARC 1994), but a decade ago it was unexpectedly discovered that acrylamide formed in a wide variety of carbohydrate-containing foods during frying or baking at high temperatures (Tareke et al. 2002). Worldwide concern about potential health effects of dietary exposure to acrylamide followed the finding of acrylamide in commonly consumed foods such as fried potatoes, potato chips, biscuits, break-fast cereals, and coffee [European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) 2010; Joint FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization) Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) 2011; Manson et al. 2005]. Prenatal exposure to acrylamide is of particular concern because reproductive and developmental toxicity of acrylamide has been reported in rodents, including dose-dependent body weight reduction and skeletal malformations in offspring exposed in utero (El Sayyad et al. 2011; Manson et al. 2005; Tyl and Friedman 2003).

Acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are reactive and may form adducts with nucleophilic sites in proteins and DNA. Glycidamide has a much higher reactivity toward DNA than acrylamide, and a considerably higher genotoxicity than the parent compound (Rice 2005). Hemoglobin (Hb) adducts can serve as biomarkers of internal dose in the blood for reactive compounds such as acrylamide (Tornqvist et al. 2002). Detection of Hb adducts from acrylamide in human umbilical cord blood (Schettgen et al. 2004; von Stedingk et al. 2011), and studies of acrylamide in ex vivo placenta perfusion studies (e.g., Annola et al. 2008), show that acrylamide crosses the human placenta.

In view of the possible health effects associated with the widespread dietary exposure to acrylamide (EFSA 2010; IARC 1994; JECFA 2011; Manson et al. 2005) starting in utero (Brantsaeter et al. 2008), we investigated the association between prenatal exposure to acrylamide, measured as Hb adducts in cord blood, and birth outcomes in a multicenter European study. We also assessed prenatal exposure to acrylamide through maternal food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) and associations between maternal dietary expo-sure to acrylamide, cord blood adduct levels, and birth outcomes, hypothesizing that higher maternal intake of acrylamide-rich food during pregnancy would be associated with reduced intrauterine growth.


Study population. The study was conducted by the NewGeneris consortium ( as part of research exploring the impact of diet during pregnancy on child health (Merlo et al. 2009). Pregnant women enrolled during 2006-2010 in 11 maternity units located in Copenhagen, Denmark; Heraklion, Greece; Oslo and Akershus, Norway; Barcelona and Sabadell, Spain; and Bradford, England (Chatzi et al. 2012; Magnus et al. 2006; Pedersen et al. 2009; Raynor et al. 2008). Specific eligibility criteria were applied in the baseline cohorts for the participation of mothers [for details, see Supplemental Material, Table S1 (]. Precise participation rates for the present analysis cannot be estimated because several filters were applied for inclusion of mothers in the NewGeneris study, such as giving birth during the periods of cord blood collection and processing, getting sufficient volume of cord blood, successful blood processing, and analyzing biomarkers.

Supplemental Material, Table S1. Study protocol on
recruitment and data collection

Location        Period of       Methods of     Hospital(s),
                recruitment       recruitment          City

Denmark,      December, 06    Written & oral  University
Copenhagen    to December,    invitation in   Hospital of
              07              end pregnancy   Copenhagen,

              September, 09   Oral & written  University
              to December,    invitation in   Hospital of
              09              end pregnancy   Copenhagen,

Greece,       February 07 to  Oral            Venizeleion
Heraklion     February 08     invitation at   Hospital,
                              the first       University
                              prenatal visit  Hospital,
                              at or before    Mitera
                              week 15 of      maternity
                              pregnancy       clinic,

Norway, Oslo  April, 07 to    Written         Akershus and
and Akershus  March, 08       invitation of   Ulleval
                              women already   University
                              enrolled in     Hospital,
                              MoBa (The       Akerhus and
                              Norwegian       Oslo
                              Mother and
                              Child study)
                              in week 37 of

              October, 07 to                  Ulleval
              July, 08                        University

                                              Hospital, Oslo
Spain,        May, 07 to      Oral            Hospital Parc

Sabadell      June, 07        invitation in   Tauli,
                              end pregnancy   Sabadell

Barcelona     October, 08 to  Oral            Hospital del
              March, 10       invitation at   Mar, Barcelona
England,      January, 08 to  Written and     Bradford Royal
Bradford      December, 09    oral            Infirmary,
                              invitation to   Bradford
                              the Born in
                              Bradford study
                              in 26 to 28
                              weeks of

Location          Inclusion        Maternal blood     Questionnaires

Denmark,      > 18 years        Pre-delivery      Full pregnancy
Copenhagen    Singleton         (day of           Collected around
              deliveries        delivery)         birth Partly
              planned                             supported1
              Wednesdays, 8 am
              to 12 am
              > 18 years        Pre-and post-     Full pregnancy
              All deliveries    delivery (day of  Collected after
              Monday to         delivery)         birth Self
              Friday                              administrated

Greece,       > 16 years        Pre- and post-    First half of
Heraklion     All deliveries    delivery (day of  pregnancy
              Residence in      delivery)         Completed at mid
              study area No                       pregnancy
              communication                       Administered by a
              handicap All                        trained research
              days                                nurse

Norway, Oslo  All ages All      0 to 3 days       Full pregnancy
and Akershus  deliveries All    post- delivery    Collected in week
              days                                22 and 37 Self

              All ages All      0 to 2 days
              deliveries        post- delivery
              Monday to Friday
              5 am to 6 pm

Spain,        > 15 years        Pre-delivery      Full pregnancy
Sabadell      Singleton         (day of           Collected at the
              deliveries        delivery)         time of delivery
              Monday                              time of delivery

Barcelona     to Friday, 7 am   Post-delivery     Partly
              to 10 pm >        (day of           supported
              16 years          delivery)
              Monday to
              Fridays 4 am to
              4 pm

England,      > 16 years        Post-delivery     Full pregnancy
Bradford      Planned           (day of           Collected in
              Caesarean         delivery)         weeks 26 to 28
              section                             and during last 4
              deliveries                          weeks of
              Monday to                           pregnancy Partly
              Friday                              supported

Location      Follow-up
Denmark,      No


Greece,       Yes

Norway, Oslo  Yes
and Akershus


Spain,        Yes

Barcelona     No

England,      Yes

(1) Partly supported by trained interviewers. … 
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