Browse by author
Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gareth Richards
This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Cambridge University Press, 2019.
For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Foetal sex hormones can have powerful and far-reaching effects on later phenotype. However, obtaining accurate measurements is difficult for ethical reasons, and researchers often employ proxy variables to examine their effects. The relative length of the second and fourth fingers (digit ratio or 2D:4D) is frequently used for this purpose, as it is hypothesised to index variance in prenatal androgen and oestrogen exposure. Most studies employing this method examine digit ratio for the right hand (R2D:4D) and/or left hand (L2D:4D), though the mean value (M2D:4D) (i.e. the average of R2D:4D and L2D:4D) and directional asymmetry (D[R-L]) (i.e. R2D:4D minus L2D:4D) are also commonly used. As no published studies have examined M2D:4D or D[R-L] in relation to testosterone measured from amniotic fluid, we conducted a secondary analysis of data published by Ventura et al. (2013). The sample comprises 106 mothers from Portugal who underwent amniocentesis during the second trimester, and their neonates. Newborn M2D:4D was negatively correlated with amniotic testosterone in females (p < 0.05) but not in males; no significant association was observed between amniotic testosterone and D[R-L] in either sex. In addition, we examined testosterone measured from maternal circulation during the second trimester, and found that it was not a significant predictor of M2D:4D or D[R-L] in male or female infants. Further research should aim to measure the ratio of testosterone to oestradiol present in amniotic fluid and maternal plasma, to examine whether either is a predictor of digit ratio variables at different stages of postnatal development.
Author(s): Richards G, Gomes M, Ventura T
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Print publication date: 01/06/2019
Online publication date: 31/10/2018
Acceptance date: 05/09/2018
Date deposited: 05/09/2018
ISSN (print): 2040-1744
ISSN (electronic): 2040-1752
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Altmetrics provided by Altmetric