Circulating antioxidant profile of pregnant women with asthma

McLernon, Penelope C., Wood, Lisa G., Murphy, Vanessa E., Hodyl, Nicolette A. and Clifton, Vicki L. (2012) Circulating antioxidant profile of pregnant women with asthma. Clinical Nutrition, 31 1: 99-107. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2011.09.006

Author McLernon, Penelope C.
Wood, Lisa G.
Murphy, Vanessa E.
Hodyl, Nicolette A.
Clifton, Vicki L.
Title Circulating antioxidant profile of pregnant women with asthma
Journal name Clinical Nutrition   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0261-5614
Publication date 2012-02-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.09.006
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 1
Start page 99
End page 107
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background & aims

One of the most prevalent complications of pregnancy is asthma which is associated with an increased incidence of intrauterine growth restriction. The mechanisms that affect fetal development in pregnancies complicated by asthma are not clearly defined. Antioxidants are particularly important during pregnancy due to their protective role against a state of high oxidative stress as gestation progresses. The current study was designed to characterise the circulating profile of tocopherols and carotenoids in pregnant women with asthma to determine whether asthma severity and dietary intake were associated with an altered antioxidant profile.


Maternal dietary intake and plasma and erythrocyte concentrations of tocopherols and carotenoids were examined in women with (n = 84) and without asthma (n = 47) at 18, 30 and 36 weeks gestation. Tocopherol and carotenoid levels were related to fetal and birth outcomes.


Pregnant women with moderate/severe asthma were found to have increased plasma concentrations of total carotenoids (P < 0.05), lutein (P < 0.05 and α-tocopherol (P < 0.02) late in gestation compared to those women with mild asthma and healthy pregnant controls. Moderate/severe asthmatics had higher erythrocyte α-tocopherol quinone levels early in gestation relative to the controls (P < 0.02) but this marker of oxidative stress decreased as gestation progressed. Tocopherols and carotenoids were positively associated with birth weight centile (P < 0.05).


These findings suggest that the maternal system adjusts antioxidant pathways in response to the presence of a high oxidative load induced by asthma during pregnancy in an attempt to ensure continued fetal growth in an adverse environment.
Keyword Pregnancy
Fetal growth
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 510703
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
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