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Placenta. 2013 Mar;34(3):205-11. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2012.11.035. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Role of leptin in pregnancy: consequences of maternal obesity.

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Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada.


Maternal obesity is associated with increased risks of pregnancy complications. Excessive fat mass, common to obese women, has the potential to influence production and secretion of adipose tissue derived proteins called adipokines. The adipokine leptin is involved in the regulation of multiple aspects of maternal metabolic homeostasis. In addition, leptin has been shown to be important for placentation and maternal-fetal exchanges processes regulating growth and development. In later stages of a healthy pregnancy, central leptin resistance occurs to allow increased nutrient availability for the fetus. Disruption of the signaling capacity of leptin associated with obesity is emerging as a potential risk factor leading to pregnancy complications as a result of aberrant fuel partitioning in utero. In this review we discuss the influence of obesity on the roles of leptin and leptin resistance at the central and placental level.

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