Investigating the Links between Lower Iron Status in Pregnancy and Respiratory Disease in Offspring Using Murine Models.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nutrients, 2021, 13, (12), pp. 4461
Issue Date:
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Maternal iron deficiency occurs in 40-50% of all pregnancies and is associated with an increased risk of respiratory disease and asthma in children. We used murine models to examine the effects of lower iron status during pregnancy on lung function, inflammation and structure, as well as its contribution to increased severity of asthma in the offspring. A low iron diet during pregnancy impairs lung function, increases airway inflammation, and alters lung structure in the absence and presence of experimental asthma. A low iron diet during pregnancy further increases these major disease features in offspring with experimental asthma. Importantly, a low iron diet increases neutrophilic inflammation, which is indicative of more severe disease, in asthma. Together, our data demonstrate that lower dietary iron and systemic deficiency during pregnancy can lead to physiological, immunological and anatomical changes in the lungs and airways of offspring that predispose to greater susceptibility to respiratory disease. These findings suggest that correcting iron deficiency in pregnancy using iron supplements may play an important role in preventing or reducing the severity of respiratory disease in offspring. They also highlight the utility of experimental models for understanding how iron status in pregnancy affects disease outcomes in offspring and provide a means for testing the efficacy of different iron supplements for preventing disease.
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