Maternal long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) play a key role in fetal growth and development. This study for the first time examines the maternal and cord LCPUFA levels in preeclamptic mothers delivering male and female infants. In this study 122 normotensive control pregnant women (gestation‚Č•37 weeks) and 90 women with preeclampsia were recruited.

Results indicate lower maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels (p<0.05) in women with preeclampsia delivering male babies as compared to normotensive control women delivering male babies. Similarly, cord nervonic acid levels were lower (p<0.01) in women with preeclampsia delivering male babies as compared to normotensive control group. However, cord nervonic acid levels were comparable in women with preeclampsia and normotensive control women delivering female babies.

This data suggests that male babies born to mothers with preeclampsia may be at an increased risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders as compared to female babies. Future studies need to follow up both male and female children born to mothers with preeclampsia since altered levels of LCPUFA at birth may have differential implications for the growth and development.