Adiponectin and maternal obesity

Adiponectin and maternal obesity

Obesity in pregnancy can lead to multiple prenatal and perinatal complications for both mother and infant and is associated with low levels of circulating adiponectin in maternal blood.

To investigate the connection between adiponectin, obesity, and pregnancy-related complications, scientists compared the pregnancy and birth outcomes of obese mice fed supplemental adiponectin with those of obese mice that did not receive adiponectin supplements.

During pregnancy, the obese mice exhibited high levels of the hormones leptin and insulin and low levels of adiponectin. Supplemented mice exhibited normalized insulin sensitivity, placental insulin signaling, and nutrient transport, compared with unsupplemented mice.

Further, supplemented mice delivered pups of normal size and weight that did not exhibit the hyperglycemia observed in mice born to unsupplemented mice. Supplementation, however, did not affect maternal fat mass.

The findings suggest that adiponectin may regulate placental function and may serve as an endocrine link between adipose tissue in the mother and growth of the fetus.

The results suggest that boosting adiponectin levels in mothers who exhibit low levels of the protein may restore normal placental nutrient transport, prevent fetal overgrowth, and prevent transfer of metabolic disease from mothers to children, according to the authors.