Intrahepatic fat is increased in the neonatal offspring of obese women with gestational diabetes

J Pediatr. 2013 May;162(5):930-6.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.11.017. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


Objectives: To assess precision magnetic resonance imaging in the neonate and determine whether there is an early maternal influence on the pattern of neonatal fat deposition in the offspring of mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and obesity compared with the offspring of normal-weight women.

Study design: A total of 25 neonates born to normal weight mothers (n = 13) and to obese mothers with GDM (n = 12) underwent magnetic resonance imaging for the measurement of subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat and magnetic resonance spectroscopy for the measurement of intrahepatocellular lipid (IHCL) fat at 1-3 weeks of age.

Results: Infants born to obese/GDM mothers had a mean 68% increase in IHCL compared with infants born to normal-weight mothers. For all infants, IHCL correlated with maternal prepregnancy body mass index but not with subcutaneous adiposity.

Conclusion: Deposition of liver fat in the neonate correlates highly with maternal body mass index. This finding may have implications for understanding the developmental origins of childhood nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology*
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors