Maternal vitamin D levels and male reproductive health: a population-based follow-up study

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Maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy may be important for reproductive health in male offspring by regulating cell proliferation and differentiation during development. We conducted a follow-up study of 827 young men from the Fetal Programming of Semen Quality (FEPOS) cohort, nested in the Danish National Birth Cohort to investigate if maternal vitamin D levels were associated with measures of reproductive health in adult sons. These included semen characteristics, testes volume, and reproductive hormone levels and were analysed according to maternal vitamin D (25(OH)D3) levels during pregnancy. In addition, an instrumental variable analysis using seasonality in sun exposure as an instrument for maternal vitamin D levels was conducted. We found that sons of mothers with vitamin D levels < 25 nmol/L had 11% (95% CI - 19 to - 2) lower testes volume and a 1.4 (95% CI 1.0 to 1.9) times higher risk of having low testes volume (< 15 mL), in addition to 20% (95% CI - 40 to 9) lower total sperm count and a 1.6 (95% CI 0.9 to 2.9) times higher risk of having a low total sperm count (< 39 million) compared with sons of mothers with vitamin D levels > 75 nmol/L. Continuous models, spline plots and an instrumental variable analysis supported these findings. Low maternal vitamin D levels were associated with lower testes volume and lower total sperm count with indications of dose-dependency. Maternal vitamin D level above 75 nmol/L during pregnancy may be beneficial for testes function in adult sons.

TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Sider (fra-til)469-484
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023

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