Maternal obesity and markers of inflammation in pregnancy

Cytokine. 2009 Jul;47(1):61-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 Jun 7.


Objectives: To evaluate whether obesity is associated with changes in pro-inflammatory and immunomodulatory cytokines in pregnancy.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study using maternal serum from the early second trimester to examine biomarkers associated with inflammation in relation to maternal body mass index (n=80 total).

Results: Leptin and high sensitivity C-reactive protein were significantly different between groups and increased with increasing body mass index. MCP-1 was significantly increased in the morbidly obese mothers. Interleukin-2 exhibited a U-shaped relationship with body mass index; transforming growth factor-beta1 demonstrated a nonsignificant negative trend with body mass index; and the levels of hepatocyte growth factor and tumor necrosis factor-alpha did not differ appreciably between groups.

Conclusions: Maternal obesity in pregnancy is associated with changes in cytokines, protein hormones and acute phase proteins in the second trimester, with an increase in MCP-1 in the morbid obesity category, and an increase in Leptin and hsCRP with increasing BMI category.

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL2 / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / blood
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity, Morbid / blood
  • Peptide Hormones / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second / blood
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Cytokines
  • HGF protein, human
  • Interleukin-2
  • Leptin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • C-Reactive Protein