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DHA supplementation eases placental inflammation in obese pregnant women

08 Jan 2018

Maternal supplementation of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during pregnancy reduces placental inflammation and differentially modulates placental nutrient transport capacity, according to a study. It may also attenuate adverse effects of maternal obesity on placental function.

DHA supplementation elevated erythrocyte (p<0.0001) and placental membrane DHA levels (p<0.0001) but appeared to have no effect on maternal inflammatory status, insulin sensitivity or lipids. In addition, DHA supplementation lessened placental inflammation, amino acid transporter expression and activity, as well as increased placental protein expression of fatty acid transporting protein 4 (p<0.05).

A total of 38 obese pregnant women were supplemented with DHA (800 mg, algal oil) or placebo (corn/soy oil) daily from 26 weeks to term in an academic healthcare institution to determine the effects of DHA supplementation on maternal metabolism and placental function. The authors collected maternal fasting blood at 26 and 36 weeks’ gestation, and placentas at term.

DHA content of maternal erythrocyte and placental membranes, maternal fasting blood glucose, cytokines, metabolic hormones, and circulating lipids were determined. The authors evaluated insulin, mTOR and inflammatory signalling in placental homogenates, and determined nutrient transport capacity in isolated syncytiotrophoblast plasma membranes.

In one study, researchers found that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy in overweight and obese women inhibited the placenta from esterifying and storing lipids. [Am J Clin Nutr 2016;103:1064-1072]

“Maternal obesity in pregnancy has profound impacts on maternal metabolism and promotes placental nutrient transport, which may contribute to foetal overgrowth in these pregnancies,” the authors said. “The fatty acid DHA has bioactive properties that may improve outcomes in obese pregnant women by modulating placental function.”

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Most Read Articles
Stephen Padilla, 3 days ago
Treatment with oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist eltrombopag leads to similar platelet counts in patients with chronic immune thrombocytopaenia (cITP) and persistent (per)ITP, according to the results of phase III (EXTEND) and IV studies presented at the 23rd Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA 2018) held in Stockholm, Sweden.
4 days ago
Socioeconomic status, along with other social determinants, appears to influence the long-term outcomes in Asian acute heart failure patients, according to a recent Japan study.
Pearl Toh, 6 days ago
Lonely people were twice as likely to die from any cause than people who did not feel lonely, according to a study based on a national survey presented at the recent EuroHeartCare 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. Also, loneliness is associated with poorer patient-reported outcomes in terms of mental and physical health in patients with heart disease.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 3 days ago
A treatment regimen combining daratumumab plus bortezomib, melphalan and prednisone markedly extends progression-free survival in patients with multiple myeloma, inducing deep responses and demonstrating acceptable tolerability regardless of baseline renal function, according to the results of the phase III ALCYONE study.