Maternal Prenatal Infections and Biliary Atresia in Offspring

Wei Hao Wang, Fang Yu Chiu, Tzu Tung Kuo, Yu Hsuan Joni Shao

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Importance: Investigations into the association of antepartum maternal infections with the pathogenesis of biliary atresia (BA) in human offspring are insufficient. Objective: To examine the association between prenatal infections in mothers and the development of BA in their offspring. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based case-control study obtained administrative data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database with linkage to the Taiwan Maternal and Child Health Database, capturing demographic and medical information on nearly all 23 million of the Taiwan population. The cohort comprised 2905978 singleton live births among mother-infant dyads between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2020, in Taiwan. The case group of infants with BA was identified from use of International Classification of Diseases diagnostic codes for BA and subsequent Kasai procedure or liver transplant. The control group was randomly selected from infants without BA, representing approximately 1 in 1000 study population. Data analyses were performed from May 1 to October 31, 2023. Exposure: Prenatal maternal infections, including intestinal infection, influenza, upper airway infection, pneumonia, soft-tissue infection, and genitourinary tract infection. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was exposure to prenatal maternal infections. Inverse probability weighting analysis was performed by building a logistic regression model to estimate the probability of the exposure observed for a particular infant and using the estimated probability as a weight in subsequent analyses. The weighted odds ratio (OR) estimated by logistic regressions was then used to assess the risk of BA in offspring after prenatal maternal infections. Results: Among the mother-infant dyads included, 447 infants with BA were cases (232 females [51.9%]) and 2912 infants without BA were controls (1514 males [52.0%]). The mean (SD) maternal age at childbirth was 30.7 (4.9) years. Offspring exposed to prenatal intestinal infection (weighted OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.17-1.82) and genitourinary tract infection (weighted OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.05-1.41) in mothers exhibited a significantly higher risk of BA. Furthermore, maternal intestinal infection (weighted OR, 6.05; 95% CI, 3.80-9.63) and genitourinary tract infection (weighted OR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.13-2.11) that occurred during the third trimester were associated with an increased risk of BA in offspring. Conclusions and Relevance: Results of this case-control study indicate an association between prenatal intestinal infection and genitourinary tract infection in mothers and BA occurrence in their offspring. Further studies are warranted to explore the underlying mechanisms of this association..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2350044
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 3 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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