Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have found that fetuses of obese women had differences in gene expression as early as the second trimester, compared to fetuses of women who were a healthy weight.. Of particular note were patterns of gene expression suggestive of abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women.

In a study to be presented on February 15 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. PST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in San Francisco, California, researchers from Tufts Medical Center will present findings showing the effects of maternal obesity on a fetus, specifically in the development of the brain.

The study, conducted at the Mother Infant Research Institute (MIRI) at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass., looked at the fetal development of 16 pregnant women, eight obese and eight lean, to see what effects maternal obesity had on fetal gene expression. Researchers have found that fetuses of obese women had differences in gene expression as early as the second trimester, compared to fetuses of women who were a healthy weight. Of particular note were patterns of gene expression suggestive of abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women.

During gestation, fetuses go through apoptosis, a developmental process of programmed cell death. However, fetuses of the obese women were observed to have decreased apoptosis, which is an important part of normal fetal neurodevelopment. Dr. Diana Bianchi, senior author of the study and executive director of MIRI, describes apoptosis as a pruning process, clearing out space for new growth.

"Women won't be surprised to hear being obese while pregnant can lead to obesity in the child," said Dr. Andrea Edlow, lead author of the study and fellow in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. "But what might surprise them is the potential effect it has on the brain development of their unborn child."

It is too early to know the implications of their findings, but maternal obesity is a rapidly growing problem in the U.S., with one in three women being obese at conception. The conclusion of the study points to the role of gene expression studies such as this one in helping elucidate possible mechanisms for recently-described postnatal neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children of obese women, including increased rates of autism and altered hypothalamic appetite regulation.

The research team hopes their findings and any future data will push women looking to become pregnant to be healthier, minimizing risk to their child.

Drs. Bianchi and Edlow, say the next step in their research will be to use a mouse model to examine the genes that are differentially expressed in fetuses of obese women, genes that may be involved in abnormal fetal neurodevelopment.

In addition to Edlow and Bianchi, research was conducted by Neeta Vora of Tufts Medical Center and University of North Carolina Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.; Lisa Hui, of Tufts Medical Center, Mother Infant Research Institute, Boston, Mass.; Heather Wick, of Tufts University Department of Computer Science, Medford, Mass.; and Janet Cowan, of Tufts Medical Center Department of Pathology, Boston, Mass.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. "Abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211102256.htm>.
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. (2013, February 11). Abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211102256.htm
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. "Abnormal brain development in fetuses of obese women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211102256.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins