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Abstract

MATERNAL LIPID METABOLISM AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR FETAL GROWTH

Rajiha Majid Abdulateef* and Lamyaa Abdullah Mohammed

ABSTRACT

Glucose is the most abundant nutrient crossing the placenta and the use of both glucose and amino acids by the fetus is essential to sustain intrauterine development. Nevertheless, changes in lipid metabolism during gestation also play a key role in the development of fetal fat mass and subsequent growth. During early pregnancy there is an increased accumulation of fat depots in the mother, which is switched to an active adipose tissue breakdown in late pregnancy; these changes are responsible for the maternal hyperlipidemia that is normally present during the last third of pregnancy. The changes are controlled by different hormones, but the biphasic changes in insulin sensitivity taking place during pregnancy seem to play a major role. Maternal hyperlipidemia mainly results from an increase in TAG-rich lipoproteins, which transport LCPUFA in particular mainly in their esterified form. Lipoproteins in maternal plasma don’t cross the placenta directly, but the presence of lipoprotein receptors, fatty acid binding proteins and different lipases allow the transfer of LCPUFA to the fetus.

Keywords: Maternal lipid metabolism, fetal growth.


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