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The metabolic syndrome in pregnancy and its association with child telomere length – published online 29/07/2020

Dale McAninch, Tina Bianco-Miotto, Kathy L. Gatford, Shalem Y. Leemaqz, Prabha H. Andraweera, Amy Garrett, Michelle D. Plummer, Gus A. Dekker, Claire T. Roberts, Lisa G. Smithers, Jessica A. Grieger

The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors. In the adult population, the metabolic syndrome associates with increased risk for cardiovascular and related diseases. Telomere length is a biomarker of ageing and is associated with the development of future chronic diseases. Maternal exposures in utero impact offspring health. In this issue, McAninch et al ( investigated whether maternal metabolic syndrome associates with telomere length, a biomarker of ageing, in the child. The authors found that the 10-year-old children of mothers who had the metabolic syndrome in pregnancy had 14% shorter telomeres than children of mothers who did not have the metabolic syndrome during pregnancy. Interestingly, anthropometric measures were similar in children of mothers who did and did not have the metabolic syndrome in pregnancy. The authors conclude that, although further studies are warranted, early assessment of telomere length in children may provide insight into their potential future chronic disease risk.

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