Disturbances in lipid metabolism in diabetic pregnancy - Are these the cause of the problem?

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Aug;24(4):515-25. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.05.006.


The most common neonatal complication of gestational diabetes (GDM) is macrosomia. During early pregnancy an accumulation of maternal fat depots occurs followed by increased adipose tissue lipolysis and subsequent hyperlipidaemia, which mainly corresponds to increased triglycerides (TG) in all circulating lipoproteins. In GDM women, the enhanced insulin resistance and decreased oestrogens are responsible for the reported wide range of dyslipidaemic conditions. In GDM, decreased proportion of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in fetus plasma could result from decreased supply, impaired placental transfer or even altered intrauterine metabolism. A positive correlation between maternal TG and neonatal body weight or fat mass has been found in GDM. Augmented oxidative stress and altered adipokines have also been found, with an adverse outcome even in normoglycaemic conditions. Thus, although additional studies are required, overall these findings indicate that altered maternal lipid metabolism rather than hyperglycaemia constitutes a risk for macrosomia in GDM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development
  • Birth Weight
  • Diabetes, Gestational / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / etiology*
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / etiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Adipokines
  • Triglycerides