B3713 - Nutrition and immunity in pregnancy maternal responses and consequences for offspring - 08/02/2021

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Sinead English | School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Dr Doretta Caramaschi, Dr Gemma Sharp
Title of project: 
Nutrition and immunity in pregnancy: maternal responses and consequences for offspring
Proposal summary: 

During pregnancy, the immune system faces a particular challenge of protecting mother and vulnerable offspring. Mothers rely on nutrients to maintain their physiological condition and immune system, as well as to nourish developing young. A key question is: when mothers face challenges to their physiological state, how do they adjust energy allocation to protect themselves and their young? When does this result in adverse outcomes, such as pre-term birth? To date, most research on pregnancy and immunity involves longitudinal studies in humans or experiments on laboratory rodents. We have a solid understanding of how nutrition or inflammation in pregnancy influences birth timing, offspring physiology and behaviour. Surprisingly few studies have, however, considered the interaction between nutrition and inflammation. This project will aim to fill this gap by using a diverse toolkit: evolutionary models, experiments in insect models of pregnancy, and analyses of human cohort studies.

Impact of research: 
This project will provide fundamental insights on how maternal nutrition and immune responses interact to determine pregnancy outcomes and longer-term consequences for offspring, across diverse organisms. In the longer term, it can also yield insights to improve birth outcomes: for example, if inflammatory responses in pregnancy cause an increased risk of pre-term birth, what are the nutritional interventions that could reduce this risk?
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 8 February, 2021
Epidemiology, Infection, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, EWAS, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Birth outcomes, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Immunity, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet, Offspring