Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate how resistin and adiponectin (ApN) are involved in maternal energy metabolism and foetal growth.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Patients and measurements: Resistin and ApN were measured in 30 healthy nonpregnant women, 73 pregnant women [10-41 weeks of gestation; 18 with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), five with pregnancy-induce hypertension (PIH), nine with pre-eclampsia (PE), eight with chronic hypertension (CH) and 33 normal] and 40 foetal samples (20-41 weeks of gestation; 18 from GDM mothers and 22 from normal mothers).
Results: Resistin levels were significantly higher in normal pregnant women than in nonpregnant controls (13.7 +/- 2.1 vs. 6.3 +/- 1.6 ng/ml; P < 0.005) and showed a negative correlation with gestational age (P < 0.0001, r = -0.7). Only women with PE presented resistin levels significantly lower than normotensive women of the same gestational age (8.2 +/- 1.2 vs. 17.9 +/- 4.3 ng/ml; P < 0.005). ApN levels, although similar in normal pregnant women to those in nonpregnant controls, were significantly lower in women with GDM (37-41 weeks; 5.2 +/- 0.5 vs. 8.2 +/- 0.8 mg/l; P < 0.0001) and PE (20-37 weeks; 5.0 +/- 0.7 vs. 9.5 +/- 0.7 mg/l; P = 0.008) than those found in normal women matched for gestational age. Resistin was detected in the umbilical venous blood in foetuses from 20 to 41 weeks of gestation. In all newborns, both resistin and ApN levels were significantly higher than those recorded in adult life and did not correlate with maternal levels (P = ns, r = 0.03 for resistin and P = ns, r = -0.3 for ApN). Foetuses from diabetic mothers had ApN significantly lower than normal foetuses (26.8 +/- 2.6 vs. 37.5 +/- 3.5 mg/l; P = 0.02), while resistin levels were similar (17.3 +/- 3.7 vs. 18.2 +/- 1.5 ng/ml; P = ns).
Conclusion: The secretion pattern of ApN in normal and complicated pregnancies strongly suggests an involvement of ApN in insulin resistance during gestation, while resistin seems to have a minor role. Moreover, the detection of high levels of resistin and ApN in cord blood during gestation is consistent with a regulatory action of these adipokines on tissue differentiation and foetal growth.