Annals of nutrition & metabolism 2017 01 2170(1) 16-25 doi 10.1159/000455904
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with increased fetal adiposity, which may increase the risk of obesity in adulthood. The placenta has insulin receptors and maternal insulin can activate its signaling pathways, affecting the transport of nutrients to the fetus. However, the effects of diet or insulin treatment on the placental pathophysiology of GDM are unknown.
There are very few studies on possible defects in the insulin signaling pathway in the GDM placenta. Such defects could influence the placental transport of nutrients to the fetus. In this review we discuss the state of insulin signaling pathways in placentas of women with GDM, as well as the role of exogenous insulin in placental nutrient transport to the fetus, and fetal adiposity. Key Messages: Maternal insulin in the third trimester is correlated with fetal abdominal circumference at that time, suggesting the important role of insulin in this process. Since treatment with insulin at the end of pregnancy may activate placental nutrient transport to the fetus and promote placental fatty acid transfer, it would be interesting to improve maternal hyperlipidemia control in GDM subjects treated with this hormone. More research in this area with high number of subjects is necessary.