Pregnancy complicated by obesity induces global transcript expression alterations in visceral and subcutaneous fat

Mol Genet Genomics. 2014 Aug;289(4):695-705. doi: 10.1007/s00438-014-0841-5. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Maternal obesity is a significant risk factor for development of both maternal and fetal metabolic complications. Increase in visceral fat and insulin resistance is a metabolic hallmark of pregnancy, yet not much is known how obesity alters adipose cellular function and how this may contribute to pregnancy morbidities. We sought to identify alterations in genome-wide transcription expression in both visceral (omental) and abdominal subcutaneous fat deposits in pregnancy complicated by obesity. Visceral and abdominal subcutaneous fat deposits were collected from normal weight and obese pregnant women (n = 4/group) at the time of scheduled uncomplicated cesarean section. A genome-wide expression array (Affymetrix Human Exon 1.0 st platform), validated by quantitative real-time PCR, was utilized to establish the gene transcript expression profile in both visceral and abdominal subcutaneous fat in normal weight and obese pregnant women. Global alteration in gene expression was identified in pregnancy complicated by obesity. These regions of variations led to identification of indolethylamine N-methyltransferase, tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2, and ephrin type-B receptor 6, not previously associated with fat metabolism during pregnancy. In addition, subcutaneous fat of obese pregnant women demonstrated increased coding protein transcripts associated with apoptosis as compared to lean counterparts. Global alteration of gene expression in adipose tissue may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / genetics*
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*