Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of conditions characterized by impaired social function and repetitive behaviors. Their etiology is largely unknown.
To examine the associations of maternal 2 nd trimester and cord blood leptin and adiponectin levels with ASD in offspring.
We used data from 1164 mother-child pairs enrolled in Project Viva, a prospective pre-birth cohort. We used logistic regression analysis to examine the associations of leptin and adiponectin levels in maternal 2 nd trimester blood and cord blood obtained at birth with ASD. Additionally, we examined the association of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) as an exposure.
Doctor-diagnosed ASD reported by mothers using questionnaires in mid-childhood and early adolescence.
The cumulative incidence of ASD was 3.4%. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI (per 5 kg/m 2) was positively associated with ASD in a logistic regression model adjusted for maternal race/ethnicity, education, smoking status and child sex (adjusted OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.06, 1.79). Higher 2 nd trimester adiponectin was associated with lower odds of ASD in offspring (unadjusted OR 0.49 [0.30, 0.78], and OR 0.54 [0.32, 0.91] after adjusting for maternal race/ethnicity, education, child sex, OR 0.55 [0.33, 0.93] after adjusting for BMI, gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes and smoking status). Maternal leptin and cord blood leptin and adiponectin levels were not associated with ASD.
Pre-pregnancy BMI and adiponectin during pregnancy may be useful as a tool to monitor the risk of autism. Increasing adiponectin levels prenatally may play a role in the prevention of ASD.

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