Associations of maternal BMI and insulin resistance with the maternal metabolome and newborn outcomes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Maternal obesity increases the risk for large-for-gestational-age birth and excess newborn adiposity, which are associated with adverse long-term metabolic outcomes in offspring, probably due to effects mediated through the intrauterine environment. We aimed to characterise the maternal metabolic milieu associated with maternal BMI and its relationship to newborn birthweight and adiposity.


Fasting and 1 h serum samples were collected from 400 European-ancestry mothers in the Hyperglycaemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study who underwent an OGTT at ∼28 weeks gestation and whose offspring had anthropometric measurements at birth. Metabolomics assays were performed using biochemical analyses of conventional clinical metabolites, targeted MS-based measurement of amino acids and acylcarnitines and non-targeted GC/MS.


Per-metabolite analyses demonstrated broad associations with maternal BMI at fasting and 1 h for lipids, amino acids and their metabolites together with carbohydrates and organic acids. Similar metabolite classes were associated with insulin resistance with unique associations including branched-chain amino acids. Pathway analyses indicated overlapping and unique associations with maternal BMI and insulin resistance. Network analyses demonstrated collective associations of maternal metabolite subnetworks with maternal BMI and newborn size and adiposity, including communities of acylcarnitines, lipids and related metabolites, and carbohydrates and organic acids. Random forest analyses demonstrated contribution of lipids and lipid-related metabolites to the association of maternal BMI with newborn outcomes.


Higher maternal BMI and insulin resistance are associated with broad-based changes in maternal metabolites, with lipids and lipid-related metabolites accounting, in part, for the association of maternal BMI with newborn size at birth.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sandler, V; Reisetter, AC; Bain, JR; Muehlbauer, MJ; Nodzenski, M; Stevens, RD; Ilkayeva, O; Lowe, LP; Metzger, BE; Newgard, CB; Scholtens, DM; Lowe, WL; HAPO Study Cooperative Research Group,

Published Date

  • March 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 60 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 518 - 530

PubMed ID

  • 27981358

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5300897

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-0428

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-186X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00125-016-4182-2


  • eng