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Placental leptin, leptin receptor isoforms, and inflammation in obese women - in relation to birth weight of the outcome

About this project

Project information

Project status



Yang Cao

Research subject

Hypothesis: Obese pregnant women whose placentas produce more leptin than normal also have more inflammation in the placenta and this together leads to impaired fetal growth, resulting in a newborn with a lower birth weight than that of children born to obese women with lower leptin levels in the placenta. The composition of different types of receptors for leptin in the placenta also affects the birth weight of children whose mothers were obese during pregnancy. Work plan: From an existing sample collection in a biobank at USÖ, 100 placenta samples from severely obese women (BMI at least 35 at the beginning of pregnancy) will be selected. The women were also healthy. The background information about the woman and the newborn child has been collected since before. The analyzes of the expression of different genes (leptin, inflammatory substances, leptin receptors, a marker of oxygen deficiency and the insulin receptor) in the placenta samples will be performed at the Clinical Research Laboratory (KFL), USÖ. Meaning: A child's birth weight is of great importance for the child's health both as a newborn and later in life. Obesity is becoming more common in the population of most countries in the world. Having low birth weight even though the mother was obese during pregnancy is deviant and associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. The causes of abnormal fetal growth in maternal obesity are not known, but abnormalities in the placenta are thought to be involved. Leptin is formed primarily in the adipose tissue, but also in the placenta and is important for the normal development and function of the placenta. Our findings will increase our knowledge of the importance of placental leptin for the baby's birth weight in obesity in the pregnant woman, which will hopefully lead to better monitoring and treatment of high-risk pregnancies. This in turn will be able to lead to improved health in newborns.


Research funding bodies

  • Swedish Fund Nyckelfonden