Article Text

OC-26 Metabolic biomarkers predicting child health
  1. Franca Fabiana Kirchberg
  1. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


The field of metabolomics grew big during the last decade. It consists of measurements of small molecule intermediates and products of metabolism, usually in plasma or serum. Thus, it constitutes an ideal basis for the identification of biomarkers and unravelling biological mechanisms.

Much research has been performed on the programming of metabolism by early life factors operating during the sensitive period of the first 1000 days of life. Maternal LC-PUFA levels during pregnancy are related to the child’s overweight or obesity risk, but also maternal prepregnancy BMI is a potent predictor for both. Breastmilk composition also affects the infant metabolism to a certain extent, but research is needed to fully explore the beneficial effects of breastmilk on later childhood metabolism. During infancy, a higher protein intake was found to raise especially BCAA levels and to increase the risk of obesity at school age. Regarding the essential question on the magnitude of the impact of early life factors on the child’s metabolism, recent data suggest a rather small effect. However, this might be an artificial result due to the huge impact of the current diet on the metabolome.

There is great potential in the uncovering of mechanistic pathways affecting the child’s later health. Further research with specific research questions will elucidate the mechanisms of action.

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