The prevalence of obesity among pregnant women is increasing. In addition to the short-term complications of obesity during pregnancy in both mother and child, it is now recognised that maternal obesity has long-term adverse outcomes for the health of her offspring in later life. Evidence from both animal and human studies indicates that maternal obesity increases the risk for the offspring in developing obesity and altering body composition in child- and adulthood and, additionally, it also has an impact on the offspring's cardiometabolic health with dysregulation of metabolism including glucose/insulin homoeostasis, and development of hypertension and vascular dysfunction. Potential mechanisms include effects on the development and function of adipose tissue, pancreas, muscle, liver, the vasculature and the brain. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms underpinning the programming of disease risk in the offspring as a consequence of maternal obesity. The ultimate aim is to identify potential targets, which may be amenable to prevention or early intervention in order to improve the health of this and future generations.
Amanda J Drake and Rebecca M Reynolds
Rebecca M Reynolds, James J Logie, Antonia K Roseweir, Angus J McKnight and Robert P Millar
Kisspeptin is a neuropeptide that was originally discovered in 1996 from a metastasis tumour suppressor gene, KISS1 and was appropriately named metastin. More recently, the discovery of inactivating mutations in the receptor for kisspeptin, a G protein-coupled receptor, GPR54 (KISS1R), have been shown to result in a failure to progress through puberty in man. These findings have led to the kisspeptin/KISS1R system being described as an essential gatekeeper of reproductive function. Recent studies have suggested additional roles of kisspeptin, other than in the central control of the gonadotropic axis including placentation and pregnancy, energy homeostasis and cardiovascular function. Therefore, kisspeptin–KISS1R signalling potentially plays diverse roles in human physiology. Here, we review the literature regarding the role and physiological significance of kisspeptin in pregnancy and highlight some of the key questions that require addressing.