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Association between birth weight and adolescent systolic blood pressure in a caucasian birth cohort differs according to skin type, CRH promoter or 11β-HSD2 genotype


Objective: To examine whether the inverse association between birth weight and blood pressure varies by skin pigmentation and/or related genotypes.

Study design: 671 children from a predominantly caucasian birth cohort were followed-up to adolescence (mean (SD) age 14.4 (0.64)).

Methods: Data on birth weight, socioeconomic status, maternal antenatal smoking, adolescent blood pressure and polymorphisms of candidate genes were obtained and analysed by multiple linear regression.

Results: An increase in birth weight of 1 kg was associated with an non-significant difference in adolescent systolic blood pressure of –0.53 mm Hg (95% CI –1.72 to 0.66) per kg after adjustment for child age and cohort entry criteria. The inverse association between birth weight and systolic blood pressure was stronger for those with darker skin (⩾2% melanin) (difference in effect, p = 0.02), those with more copies of the C allele of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) +T1273C (p = 0.06), and those with more copies of the short (⩽236 bp) form of the 11β-HSD2{CA}nrepeat microsatellite (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: These findings add to the evidence that cortisol-related pathways may account for at least part of the observed birth weight–blood pressure associations.

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    Howard Bauchner