Maternal plasma folate concentration is positively associated with serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein across the three trimesters of pregnancy.
Increased first-trimester low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) concentration has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as gestational diabetes. The B vitamins folate, B-6, and total B-12 are key for the methyl group-dependent endogenous synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, which is needed for lipoprotein synthesis, e.g., very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), the precursor of circulating LDL-C. Maternal B-vitamin concentration usually declines across trimesters. Whether changes in maternal B-vitamin concentrations are associated with total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and lipoprotein concentrations is unknown. Therefore, we explored the association between plasma folate, vitamin B-6 in the form of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), and total B-12 with serum TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, and TG concentrations across trimesters. This secondary analysis used data of a prospective pregnancy cohort study included apparently healthy adult women (n = 179) from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The biomarkers were measured in fasting blood samples collected at 5-13, 20-26, and 30-36 weeks of gestation. The associations between B vitamins and lipid concentrations across trimesters were explored using linear mixed-effect models. Among B vitamins, only plasma folate was positively associated with TC (beta = 0.244, 95% CI 0.034-0.454) and LDL-C (beta = 0.193, 95% CI 0.028-0.357) concentrations. The positive relationship of maternal folate and TC and LDL-C concentrations may indicate the importance of folate as a methyl donor for lipoprotein synthesis during pregnancy.