Maternal obesity is associated with a reduction in placental taurine transporter activity

A M Ditchfield, Michelle Desforges, T A Mills, J D Glazier, M Wareing, K Mynett, C P Sibley, S L Greenwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objectives:Maternal obesity increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcome including stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction and fetal overgrowth. These pregnancy complications are associated with dysfunctional syncytiotrophoblast, the transporting epithelium of the human placenta. Taurine, a β-amino acid with antioxidant and cytoprotective properties, has a role in syncytiotrophoblast development and function and is required for fetal growth and organ development. Taurine is conditionally essential in pregnancy and fetal tissues depend on uptake of taurine from maternal blood. We tested the hypothesis that taurine uptake into placental syncytiotrophoblast by the taurine transporter protein (TauT) is lower in obese women (body mass index (BMI)⩾30 kg m(-)(2)) than in women of ideal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg m(-)(2)) and explored potential regulatory factors.Subjects/Methods:Placentas were collected from term (37-42-week gestation), uncomplicated, singleton pregnancies from women with BMI 19-49 kg m(-)(2). TauT activity was measured as the Na(+)-dependent uptake of (3)H-taurine into placental villous fragments. TauT expression in membrane-enriched placental samples was investigated by western blot. In vitro studies using placental villous explants examined whether leptin or IL-6, adipokines/cytokines that are elevated in maternal obesity, regulates TauT activity.Results:Placental TauT activity was significantly lower in obese women (BMI⩾30) than women of ideal weight (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of obesity (2005)
Issue number4
Early online date30 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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