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CONTEXT: Imbalances in maternal 1-carbon nutrients (vitamin B12, folate) have been shown to be associated with higher offspring cardiometabolic risk markers in India. OBJECTIVE: We examined the hypothesis that low plasma vitamin B12 (B12) and high folate and homocysteine concentrations in the mother are associated with higher hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (cortisol) and cardiovascular responses during the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) in an Indian birth cohort. METHODS: Adolescents (n = 264; mean age: 13.6 years), whose mothers' plasma B12, folate and total homocysteine concentrations had been measured during pregnancy, completed 5-minutes each of public speaking and mental arithmetic tasks in front of 2 unfamiliar "judges" (TSST-C). Baseline and poststress salivary cortisol concentrations were measured. Heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were measured continuously at baseline, during the TSST-C, and for 10 minutes after the TSST-C using a finger cuff; beat-to-beat values were averaged for these periods, respectively. RESULTS: Maternal low B12 status (plasma B12 < 150 pmol/L) was associated with greater cortisol responses to stress in the offspring (P < .001). Higher homocysteine concentrations were associated with greater offspring heart rate response (P < .001). After adjustment for multiple comparisons, there were nonsignificant associations between higher maternal folate concentrations and offspring total peripheral resistance response (P = .01). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that maternal 1-carbon nutritional status may have long-term programming implications for offspring neuroendocrine stress responses.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Endocrinol Metab

Publication Date





B12 deficiency, adolescent, cortisol, folate, homocysteine, stress response