Endocannabinoid crosstalk between placenta and maternal fat in a baboon model (Papio spp.) of obesity

B. Brocato, A. A. Zoerner, Z. Janjetovic, C. Skobowiat, S. Gupta, B. M. Moore, A. Slominski, J. Zhang, M. Schenone, R. Phinehas, R. J. Ferry, E. Dick, G. B. Hubbard, G. Mari, N. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction Maternal obesity (MO) remains a serious obstetric problem with acute and chronic morbidities for both mothers and offspring. The mechanisms underlying these adverse consequences of MO remain unknown. Endocannabinoids (ECB) are neuromodulatory lipids released from adipocytes and other tissues. Metabolic crosstalk between placenta and adipocytes may mediate sequelae of MO. The goal of this study was to elucidate placental and systemic ECB in MO. Material and methods Placentas, sera, and subcutaneous fat were collected at Cesarean sections performed near term (0.9 G) in four non-obese (nOB) and four obese (OB) baboons (Papio spp.). Concentrations of anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) were measured by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. AEA and 2-AG pathways were characterized in placentas by Q-RT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Results Placental 2-AG levels were lower and maternal fat AEA levels were higher in OB (1254.1 ± 401.3 nmol/kg and 17.3 ± 4 nmol/kg) vs. nOB (3124.2 ± 557.3 nmol/kg and 3.1 ± 0.6 nmol/kg) animals. Concentrations of 2-AG correlated positively between maternal fat and placenta (r = 0.82, p = 0.013), but correlated negatively with maternal leptin concentrations (r = -0.72, p = 0.04 and r = -0.83, p = 0.01, respectively). Conclusion This is the first study to demonstrate differential ECB pathway regulation in maternal fat and placenta in MO. Differential regulation and function exist for AEA and 2-AG as the major ECB pathways in placenta.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-989
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Endocannabinoids
  • Fat
  • Maternal obesity
  • Placenta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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