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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Maternal Pre-Pregnancy Body Weight and Gestational Diabetes on Markers of Folate Metabolism in the Placenta

1
Early Life Research Unit, Division of Child Health and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
2
EURISTIKOS Excellence Centre for Paediatric Research, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
3
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain
4
Abbott Nutrition, 18004 Granada, Spain
5
The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3FX UK
6
Nottingham Digestive Disease Centre, Biomedical Research Unit, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1750; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111750
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micronutrients Intake and Status during Pregnancy and Lactation)
Dietary methyl donors, including folate, may modify the placenta and size at birth but the influence of maternal body weight has not been widely investigated. We therefore examined whether maternal or fetal folate status, together with indices of placental folate transport, were modulated by either maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI i.e., overweight: 25 ≤ BMI < 30 or obesity: BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and/or gestational diabetes mellitus (GD). We utilised a sub-sample of 135 pregnant women participating in the Spanish PREOBE survey for our analysis (i.e., 59 healthy normal weight, 29 overweight, 22 obese and 25 GD). They were blood sampled at 34 weeks gestation, and, at delivery, when a placental sample was taken together with maternal and cord blood. Placental gene expression of folate transporters and DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) were all measured. Folate plasma concentrations were determined with an electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay. Food diaries indicated that folate intake was unaffected by BMI or GD and, although all women maintained normal folate concentrations (i.e., 5–16 ng/mL), higher BMIs were associated with reduced maternal folate concentrations at delivery. Umbilical cord folate was not different, reflecting an increased concentration gradient between the mother and her fetus. Placental mRNA abundance for the folate receptor alpha (FOLR1) was reduced with obesity, whilst DNMT1 was increased with raised BMI, responses that were unaffected by GD. Multi-regression analysis to determine the best predictors for placental FOLR1 indicated that pre-gestational BMI had the greatest influence. In conclusion, the placenta’s capacity to maintain fetal folate supply was not compromised by either obesity or GD. View Full-Text
Keywords: body mass index; gestational diabetes; placenta; folic acid body mass index; gestational diabetes; placenta; folic acid
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Martino, J.; Segura, M.T.; García-Valdés, L.; Padilla, M.C.; Rueda, R.; McArdle, H.J.; Budge, H.; Symonds, M.E.; Campoy, C. The Impact of Maternal Pre-Pregnancy Body Weight and Gestational Diabetes on Markers of Folate Metabolism in the Placenta. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1750.

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