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Centre for Trophoblast Research


Half of the women in Europe of reproductive age are overweight or obese. Obesity in pregnancy not only leads to pregnancy complications but is also associated with cardiometabolic diseases in the offspring later in life. The placenta as the key interface for maternofetal communication is likely to play a crucial role in mediating short- and long- term effects on the offspring from obese pregnancies. We hypothesise that the mechanisms may involve direct effects of maternal obesity on placental function, structure and/or changes in miRNA content of placental exosomes. This project will test this hypothesis by investigating the effect of obesity on the placenta in an animal model of maternal diet-induced obesity. It is crucial to find suitable interventions. We therefore assess the ability of the drug metformin to prevent detrimental effects of maternal obesity on the placenta. As metformin crosses the placenta direct effects on the fetus need will be addressed as well.


Key publications: 

1) Antonia Hufnagel, Denise Fernandez-Twinn, Heather Blackmore, Tom Ashmore, Susan Ozanne. Placental structure is affected by maternal obesity, which is not reversed by Metformin-treatment. Poster for MRL students' s m osium 2018.

Graduate Student, Institute of Metabolic Science
Not available for consultancy