OBJECTIVE: To ascertain whether fetal growth restriction is associated with alterations of leptin concentrations in umbilical cord blood and maternal serum. METHODS: Maternal serum and umbilical cord blood leptin concentrations were determined by immunoradiometric assay at term in 43 women with uncomplicated singleton pregnancies (group A) and in 27 women with singleton pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction (group B), all with normal pregravid body mass index (BMI). RESULTS: Maternal serum leptin concentrations were significantly higher in group B compared with group A (45.0 ng/mL [range 34.2-54.9] versus 29.0 ng/mL [range 24.7-33.3]; P <.01). Umbilical cord blood leptin levels were significantly lower in group B compared with group A (8.4 ng/mL [range 3.6-13.2] versus 13.1 ng/mL [9.7-16.5]; P <.01). Maternal serum leptin levels were not significantly correlated with maternal BMI or with neonatal birth weight in either group. Umbilical cord blood leptin concentrations were significantly correlated with neonatal birth weight in both groups. CONCLUSION: Growth restricted fetuses at term show umbilical cord blood leptin concentrations significantly lower than those in normal fetuses, suggesting that fetal adipose tissue is a major source of leptin. Maternal serum leptin concentrations are higher in the presence of a growth restricted fetus. This increase might be due to an intrinsic placental mechanism, by which small placentas produce more leptin as a compensatory mechanism, or to early hypoxia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology