A multi-tissue metabolome atlas of primate pregnancy

Cell. 2024 Feb 1;187(3):764-781.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.11.043.


Pregnancy induces dramatic metabolic changes in females; yet, the intricacies of this metabolic reprogramming remain poorly understood, especially in primates. Using cynomolgus monkeys, we constructed a comprehensive multi-tissue metabolome atlas, analyzing 273 samples from 23 maternal tissues during pregnancy. We discovered a decline in metabolic coupling between tissues as pregnancy progressed. Core metabolic pathways that were rewired during primate pregnancy included steroidogenesis, fatty acid metabolism, and arachidonic acid metabolism. Our atlas revealed 91 pregnancy-adaptive metabolites changing consistently across 23 tissues, whose roles we verified in human cell models and patient samples. Corticosterone and palmitoyl-carnitine regulated placental maturation and maternal tissue progenitors, respectively, with implications for maternal preeclampsia, diabetes, cardiac hypertrophy, and muscle and liver regeneration. Moreover, we found that corticosterone deficiency induced preeclampsia-like inflammation, indicating the atlas's potential clinical value. Overall, our multi-tissue metabolome atlas serves as a framework for elucidating the role of metabolic regulation in female health during pregnancy.

Keywords: corticosterone; cynomolgus monkeys; diabetes; female health; metabolic coupling; multi-tissue metabolomics; palmitoyl-carnitine; preeclampsia; pregnancy; pregnancy-adaptive metabolites.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metabolome / physiology
  • Metabolomics*
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • Pregnancy* / metabolism
  • Primates / metabolism


  • Corticosterone