HALO researchers Kendra Brett, Dr. Zach Ferraro and Dr. Kristi Adamo are co-authors on a paper, “Maternal–Fetal Nutrient Transport in Pregnancy Pathologies: The Role of the Placenta,” that was recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.

Kendra Elizabeth Brett, Zachary Michael Ferraro, Julien Yockell-Lelievre, Andrée Gruslin, Kristi Bree AdamoMaternal–Fetal Nutrient Transport in Pregnancy Pathologies: The Role of the Placenta. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15(9), 16153-16185.

ABSTRACT: Appropriate in utero growth is essential for offspring development and is a critical contributor to long-term health. Fetal growth is largely dictated by the availability of nutrients in maternal circulation and the ability of these nutrients to be transported into fetal circulation via the placenta. Substrate flux across placental gradients is dependent on the accessibility and activity of nutrient-specific transporters. Changes in the expression and activity of these transporters is implicated in cases of restricted and excessive fetal growth, and may represent a control mechanism by which fetal growth rate attempts to match availability of nutrients in maternal circulation. This review provides an overview of placenta nutrient transport with an emphasis on macro-nutrient transporters. It highlights the changes in expression and activity of these transporters associated with common pregnancy pathologies, including intrauterine growth restriction, macrosomia, diabetes and obesity, as well as the potential impact of maternal diet. Molecular signaling pathways linking maternal nutrient availability and placenta nutrient transport are discussed. How sexual dimorphism affects fetal growth strategies and the placenta’s response to an altered intrauterine environment is considered. Further knowledge in this area may be the first step in the development of targeted interventions to help optimize fetal growth.

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