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Biol Neonate. 1987;51(2):70-7.

Lipid metabolism in pregnancy.


On the basis of bibliographic references and new own data, major adaptations of lipid metabolism occurring at late gestation are reviewed. Maternal hypertriglyceridemia at late gestation results from the juxtaposition of several factors: enhanced adipose tissue lipolysis facilitating the availability to the liver of substrates for triglyceride synthesis and contributing to augmented flux of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) into the circulation; maternal hyperphagia and unmodified gut lipid absorption increasing chylomicron formation from dietary lipid; reduced lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity in extrahepatic tissues (especially adipose tissue) which does not allow a triglyceride removal proportional to their enhanced production. It is proposed that these changes are also responsible for the altered composition of VLDL in late pregnancy. In conditions of food deprivation the use of glycerol released from adipose tissue as preferential gluconeogenic substrate, and the enhanced maternal ketogenesis warrants the availability of fuels for the fetus. Just prior to parturition the increase in mammary gland LPL activity is responsible for the reduction in circulating triglycerides and prepares the mother for lactation.

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