Large Reduction in Adiponectin During Pregnancy Is Associated With Large-for-Gestational-Age Newborns

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jul 1;102(7):2552-2559. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00289.


Context: Fetuses exposed to an obese intrauterine environment are more likely to be born large-for-gestational age (LGA) and are at increased risk of obesity in childhood and cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes mellitus as adults, but which factors that influence the intrauterine environment is less clear.

Objective: To investigate the association between circulating levels of leptin and adiponectin, measured multiple times during pregnancy, and birth weight and prevalence of LGA or small-for-gestational-age infants. The association between birth weight and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of adiponectin receptors and genes involved in nutrient transport in the placenta was also investigated.

Design: Population-based prospective cohort [substudy of the STORK study (STORe barn og Komplikasjoner, translated as Large Babies and Complications)] from 2001 to 2008.

Setting: University hospital. Patients or other participants: 300 women.

Main outcome measures: Oral glucose tolerance test was performed twice along with adiponectin and leptin levels measured four times during pregnancy.

Results: Circulating adiponectin was lower in mothers who gave birth to LGA offspring or had fetuses with high intrauterine abdominal circumference late in pregnancy. Adiponectin decreased most from early to late pregnancy in mothers who gave birth to LGA offspring, and the decrease was an independent predictor of birth weight. Adiponectin receptor 2 and system A amino acid transporter mRNA expression in placentas was negatively correlated with birth weight and was lower in placentas from LGA infants.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that maternal adiponectin may be an important predictor of fetal growth and birth weight, independent of body mass index and insulin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Fetal Macrosomia / blood*
  • Gestational Age
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • ADIPOR2 protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Adiponectin