Dysregulation of Placental miRNA in Maternal Obesity Is Associated With Pre- and Postnatal Growth

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jul 1;102(7):2584-2594. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00089.


Context: Human placenta exhibits a specific microRNA (miRNA) expression pattern. Some of these miRNAs are dysregulated in pregnancy disorders such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction and are potential biomarkers for these pathologies.

Objective: To study the placental miRNA profile in pregnant women with pregestational overweight/obesity (preOB) or gestational obesity (gestOB) and explore the associations between placental miRNAs dysregulated in maternal obesity and prenatal and postnatal growth.

Methods: TaqMan Low Density Arrays and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to profile the placental miRNAs in 70 pregnant women (20 preOB, 25 gestOB, and 25 control). Placentas and newborns were weighed at delivery, and infants were weighed at 1, 4, and 12 months of age.

Results: Eight miRNAs were decreased in placentas from preOB or gestOB (miR-100, miR-1269, miR-1285, miR-181, miR-185, miR-214, miR-296, and miR-487) (all P < 0.05). Among them, miR-100, miR-1285, miR-296, and miR-487 were associated with maternal metabolic parameters (all P < 0.05) and were predictors of lower birth weight (all P < 0.05; R2 > 30%) and increased postnatal weight gain (all P < 0.05; R2 > 20%). In silico analysis showed that these miRNAs were related to cell proliferation and insulin signaling pathways. miR-296 was also present in plasma samples and associated with placental expression and prenatal and postnatal growth parameters (all P < 0.05).

Conclusions: We identified a specific placental miRNA profile in maternal obesity. Placental miRNAs dysregulated in maternal obesity may be involved in mediation of growth-promoting effects of maternal obesity on offspring and could be used as early markers of prenatal and postnatal growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Weight Gain / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • MicroRNAs