Feto-placental Adaptations to Maternal Obesity in the Baboon

D. Farley, M. E. Tejero, Anthony G Comuzzie, P. B. Higgins, Laura Cox, Sherry L Werner, S. L. Jenkins, C. Li, J. Choi, E. J. Dick, G. B. Hubbard, P. Frost, D. J. Dudley, B. Ballesteros, G. Wu, P. W. Nathanielsz, N. E. Schlabritz-Loutsevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Maternal obesity is present in 20-34% of pregnant women and has been associated with both intrauterine growth restriction and large-for-gestational age fetuses. While fetal and placental functions have been extensively studied in the baboon, no data are available on the effect of maternal obesity on placental structure and function in this species. We hypothesize that maternal obesity in the baboon is associated with a maternal inflammatory state and induces structural and functional changes in the placenta. The major findings of this study were: 1) decreased placental syncytiotrophoblast amplification factor, intact syncytiotrophoblast endoplasmic reticulum structure and decreased system A placental amino acid transport in obese animals; 2) fetal serum amino acid composition and mononuclear cells (PBMC) transcriptome were different in fetuses from obese compared with non-obese animals; and 3) maternal obesity in humans and baboons is similar in regard to increased placental and adipose tissue macrophage infiltration, increased CD14 expression in maternal PBMC and maternal hyperleptinemia. In summary, these data demonstrate that in obese baboons in the absence of increased fetal weight, placental and fetal phenotype are consistent with those described for large-for-gestational age human fetuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-760
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Baboon
  • Electron microscopy
  • Maternal obesity
  • Placenta
  • System A amino acid uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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