Research: McEVOY and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 217

Abstract

McEVOY and COLLEAGUES, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland set out to determine if newborns of pregnant smokers randomized to receive daily vitamin C would have improved results of pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and decreased wheezing compared with those randomized to placebo.

Background

Maternal smoking during pregnancy adversely affects offspring lung development, with lifelong decreases in pulmonary function and increased asthma risk. In a primate model, vitamin C blocked some of the in-utero effects of nicotine on lung development and offspring pulmonary function.

Methodology

Randomized, double-blind trial conducted in 3 sites in the Pacific Northwest between March 2007 and January 2011. One hundred fifty-nine newborns of randomized pregnant smokers (76 vitamin C treated and 83 placebo treated) and 76 newborns of pregnant non-smokers were studied with newborn PFTs. Follow-up assessment including wheezing was assessed through age 1 year, and PFTs were performed at age 1 year. Pregnant women were randomized to receive vitamin C (500 mg/d) (n = 89) or placebo (n = 90). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was measurement of newborn pulmonary function (ratio of the time to peak tidal expiratory flow to expiratory time [TPTEF:TE] and passive respiratory compliance per kilogram [Crs/kg]) within 72 hours of age. Secondary outcomes included incidence of wheezing through age 1 year and PFT results at age 1 year. A subgroup of pregnant smokers and non-smokers had genotyping performed.

Results

Newborns of women randomized to vitamin C (n = 76), compared with those randomized to placebo (n = 83), had improved pulmonary function as measured by TPTEF:TE (0.383 vs 0.345 [adjusted 95% CI for difference, 0.011-0.062]; P = .006) and Crs/kg (1.32 vs 1.20 mL/cm H2O/kg [95% CI, 0.02-0.20]; P = .01). Offspring of women randomized to vitamin C had significantly decreased wheezing through age 1 year (15/70 [21%] vs 31/77 [40%]; relative risk, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.33-0.95]; P = .03). There were no significant differences in the 1-year PFT results between the vitamin C and placebo groups. The effect of maternal smoking on newborn lung function was associated with maternal genotype for the α5 nicotinic receptor (rs16969968) (P < .001 for interaction).

Conclusion

Supplemental vitamin C taken by pregnant smokers improved newborn PFT results and decreased wheezing through 1 year in the offspring. Vitamin C in pregnant smokers may be an inexpensive and simple approach to decrease the effects of smoking in pregnancy on newborn pulmonary function and respiratory morbidities.

References

McEvoy CT, Schilling D, Clay N, Jackson K, Go MD, Spitale P, Bunten C, Leiva M, Gonzales D, Hollister-Smith J, Durand M, Frei B, Buist AS, Peters D, Morris CD and Spindel ER. Vitamin C supplementation for pregnant smoking women and pulmonary function in their newborn infants: a randomized clinical trial. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00632476. JAMA. 311(20):2074-82. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.5217. May 2014. Comment in  JAMA. 311(20):2070-1. May 2014.

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