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Keywords:

  • Foetal gender;
  • glucose uptake;
  • maternal gestational weight gain;
  • placenta

Summary

Background

Maternal obesity and gestational weight gain (GWG) have a significant impact on the in utero environment, and thus on foetal development and the health of the offspring later in life.

Objective

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of maternal pre-existing obesity and maternal GWG on glucose uptake from placentas from male and female offspring.

Methods

Total glucose uptake was measured in placental explants using radio-labelled glucose.

Results

In the female placentas (n = 36), GWG and glucose uptake were significantly negatively correlated (r = −0.7, P < 0.0001; n = 36), and customized birthweight centile correlated with placental glucose uptake (r = 0.36, P = 0.03) but not GWG. In the male placentas (n = 45), GWG and glucose uptake were not related, and customized birthweight centile correlated with GWG (r = 0.34, P = 0.02; n = 45), but not placental glucose uptake.

Conclusions

The female placenta can adapt glucose uptake in the face of excessive GWG. The male placenta showed no evidence of changing glucose uptake in response to maternal GWG.