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Significance of Maternal Obesity and Gestational Weight Gain for Understanding Inflammatory Physiology and Responses to Infection During Pregnancy

Published:December 08, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.11.013
      The increased prevalence of obesity among women of childbearing age has made it more important to consider preconception adiposity and gestational weight gain as significant factors that influence maternal health and developmental outcomes in children. A consideration of preconception weight and gestational weight gain also provides additional insight into processes that may initially seem unrelated to diet and metabolism, including inflammatory reactions and immune responses to infection (
      • Rugina C.
      • Maarginean C.O.
      • Melit L.E.
      • Hutan A.
      • Ghiga D.V.
      • Modi V.
      • Marinean C.
      Systemic inflammatory status – a bridge between gestational weight gain and neonatal outcomes (STROBE-compliant article).
      ). Obesity and the consumption of a diet that is higher in fat content increase proinflammatory cytokine levels in the circulation, resulting in a chronic, subclinical proinflammatory state, and potentiate the synthesis of cytokines by adipocytes. Some cytokines, especially interleukin 6 (IL-6), share structural and biochemical features with proteins associated with metabolism and satiety, including the adipokine leptin. In addition, maternal obesity is known to be a major risk factor predisposing individuals for gestational diabetes and hypertension, and the onset of either condition has cascading effects on inflammatory physiology.
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