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Mol Hum Reprod. 2006 Sep;12(9):551-6. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

Relationships between maternal plasma leptin, placental leptin mRNA and protein in normal pregnancy, pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction without pre-eclampsia.

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Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Leptin, an adipocyte hormone involved in energy homeostasis, is important in reproduction and pregnancy. Questions yet to be addressed include the source of higher leptin during pregnancy and its relationship to pregnancy outcome and fetal growth. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between placental leptin gene expression, placental leptin protein concentration and maternal plasma leptin concentration among control pregnant women, women with pre-eclampsia and women with growth-restricted infants. We also investigated the relationship between placental leptin expression and the placental expression of enzymes involved in cellular lipid balance: fatty acid translocase (CD36), carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT-1B) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). Placental leptin expression, placental protein and maternal plasma concentration were higher in pre-eclampsia than in controls but not in women with growth-restricted infants. Placental leptin expression and placental protein were higher in the preterm pre-eclamptic subjects, whereas maternal leptin was higher in the term pre-eclamptic subjects. The placental gene expression of CD36, CPT-1B and LPL were not different among the groups. This study suggests that despite similar failed placental bed vascular remodelling in pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), leptin gene expression is higher only in preterm pre-eclampsia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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