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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 2;7:41847. doi: 10.1038/srep41847.

Gestational Weight Gain and Fetal-Maternal Adiponectin, Leptin, and CRP: results of two birth cohorts studies.

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Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine II - Cardiology, University Medical Center Ulm, Germany.
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Medical Center Ulm, Germany.
Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.
Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Faculty of Health Care Krefeld, Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, Krefeld, Germany.


Gestational weight gain (GWG) is an important modifiable factor known to influence fetal outcomes including birth weight and adiposity. Unlike behaviors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, the effect of GWG throughout pregnancy on fetal development and other outcomes has not been extensively studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship of GWG with endocrine factors such as adiponectin, leptin, and C-reactive protein which may be associated with inflammatory response, fetal growth, and adiposity later in life. Data were obtained from the Ulm Birth Cohort Study (UBCS) and the Ulm SPATZ Health Study, two methodologically similar birth cohort studies including newborns and their mothers recruited from 11/2000-11/2001 and 04/2012-05/2013. In the two included birth cohorts we consistently observed statistically significant positive associations between GWG beginning as early as the second trimester with fetal cord blood leptin and stronger association beginning as early as the first trimester with post-delivery maternal serum leptin. Total weight gain exceeding commonly accepted recommended guidelines was consistently associated with higher leptin levels in both cord blood and post-delivery maternal serum. These results suggest a potential pathomechanistic link between fetal environment and surrogate markers of long-term health.

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