Sci Rep. 2022 Sep 6;12(1):15122. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-19463-3.
Undernutrition is responsible for up to 45% of deaths in children under five, with low- and middle-income countries disproportionately affected. Adipokines are known modulators of metabolism and have been linked to growth rates and neurocognition during infancy. We examined the relationship(s) between cord blood adiponectin and leptin and both longitudinal growth and cognition during the first year of life using generalized estimating equations. Infants were classified as underweight (weight-for-age z-score [WAZ]), stunted (height-for-age z-score [HAZ]) or wasted (weight-for-height z-score [WHZ]) using WHOAnthro software. Cord blood adiponectin and leptin levels were highly correlated (r = 0.35, P < 0.0001) and positively associated with birth WAZ (r = 0.34 and r = 0.45, P < 0.0001, respectively). Adipokines were independently, inversely associated with weight gain. Infants in the highest quintile of adipokine production had a lower risk of being stunted, while neither was associated with lower WAZ or WHZ in final adjusted models. Cognition was not found to be independently related to cord blood leptin or adiponectin. The negative association with adipokines and rate of weight gain during infancy may reflect heightened nutritional status at birth rather than a direct hormonal influence. The relationship between leptin or adiponectin and longitudinal length gains suggests that both adipokines may promote linear growth during infancy.