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Placenta. 2011 Nov;32(11):845-51. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2011.07.083. Epub 2011 Aug 27.

The morphometry of materno-fetal oxygen exchange barrier in a baboon model of obesity.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

More than one-fourth of U.S. women are overweight; more than one-third are obese. Maternal obesity has been linked to an increased incidence of stillbirths, fetal macrosomia, fetal intrauterine growth restriction and pre-eclampsia. The placenta plays a key role in the nutrients and oxygen supply to the fetus. The data about structural changes in the placental villous membrane (VM), a major component of the feto-maternal nutrient and oxygen exchange barrier, during obesity are sparse and inconsistent. Our objective was to evaluate the morphometric changes in the placental exchange barrier in a baboon model of obesity.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The previously described baboon model of maternal obesity was studied. We compared 4 obese to 4 non-obese baboons. Placental stereology with the use of transmission electron microscopy was performed to estimate VM oxygen diffusing capacities and morphometry.

RESULTS:

The specific placental oxygen diffusing capacities per unit of fetal weight were similar in baboons and humans. Maternal leptin concentrations correlated negatively with placental basement membrane thickness (r = -0.78, p < 0.05), while fetal leptin levels correlated negatively with endothelial thickness of fetal capillaries (r = -0.78, p < 0.05). The total and specific villous membrane oxygen diffusing capacities were not different between the two groups.

CONCLUSION:

To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of placental oxygen diffusing capacities and placental ultrastructural changes in a baboon model of obesity. Previously reported placental inflammation in maternal obesity is not associated with changes in the VM diffusing capacities and ultrastructure.

PMID:
21872927
PMCID:
PMC3304583
DOI:
10.1016/j.placenta.2011.07.083
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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