High-fat diet before and during pregnancy causes marked up-regulation of placental nutrient transport and fetal overgrowth in C57/BL6 mice

Helen N. Jones, Laura A. Woollett, Nicolette Barbour, Puttur D. Prasad, Theresa L. Powell, Thomas Jansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

195 Scopus citations


Maternal overweight and obesity in pregnancy often result in fetal overgrowth, which increases the risk for the baby to develop metabolic syndrome later in life. However, the mechanisms underlying fetal overgrowth are not established. We developed a mouse model and hypothesized that a maternal high-fat (HF) diet causes up-regulation of placental nutrient transport, resulting in fetal overgrowth. C57BL/6J female mice were fed a control (11% energy from fat) or HF (32% energy from fat) diet for 8 wk before mating and throughout gestation and were studied at embryonic day 18.5. The HF diet increased maternal adiposity, as assessed by fat pad weight, and circulating maternal leptin, decreased serum adiponectin concentrations, and caused a marked increase in fetal growth (+43%). The HF diet also increased transplacental transport of glucose (5-fold) and neutral amino acids (10-fold) in vivo. In microvillous plasma membranes (MVMs) isolated from placentas of HF-fed animals, protein expression of glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) was increased 5-fold, and protein expression of sodium-coupled neutral amino acid transporter (SNAT) 2 was elevated 9-fold. In contrast, MVM protein expression of GLUT 3 or SNAT4 was unaltered. These data suggest that up-regulation of specific placental nutrient transporter isoforms constitute a mechanism linking maternal high-fat diet and obesity to fetal overgrowth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009



  • Macrosomia
  • Maternal obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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