Objective. To determine the independent contributions to infant birth size of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and leptin measured in umbilical cord plasma.

Methods. Umbilical cord blood was collected in 12 804 consecutive deliveries, and cord plasma from 585 singleton infants born at term after uncomplicated pregnancies was analyzed for leptin, IGF-I, and 2 IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3). In multivariable analyses, we assessed maternal and infant covariates of leptin and IGF-I, and we evaluated the independent contribution of cord levels of leptin and IGF-I on infant birth size.

Results. Cord plasma levels of IGF-I were lower in women who reported smoking at the beginning of pregnancy compared with nonsmokers. In female infants, levels of IGF-I and leptin were higher than in male infants after adjustment for ponderal index and maternal factors. We found a strong parallel increase in umbilical IGF-I and leptin with increasing birth weight and birth length. For IGFBP-1, there was an opposite pattern: IGFBP-1 increased with decreasing birth size. The multivariable analysis, adjusted for length of gestation and maternal age, parity, prepregnancy weight, smoking during pregnancy, and offspring sex, showed that IGF-I and leptin, independent of each other, were associated with birth weight and birth length.

Conclusions. Levels of IGF-I and leptin in umbilical cord plasma were higher in girls than in boys, but in both sexes, these 2 factors contributed independently and positively to birth weight and length. For IGFBP-1, high levels were associated with low birth weight and reduced length. If intrauterine growth is related to the risk of developing adult diseases, IGF-I, IGFBP-1, and leptin may be involved in the underlying processes.1131–1135 insulin like growth factors, leptin, umbilical cord plasma, birth weight.

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