Maternal short-chain fatty acids are associated with metabolic parameters in mothers and newborns

Medha Priyadarshini, Alexandra Thomas, Anna C. Reisetter, Denise M. Scholtens, Thomas M S Wolever, Jami L. Josefson, Brian T. Layden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


During the course of pregnancy, dynamic remodeling of the gut microbiota occurs and contributes to maternal metabolic changes through an undefined mechanism. Because short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are a major product of gut microbiome fermentation, we investigated whether serum SCFA levels during pregnancy are related to key metabolic parameters in mothers and newborns. In this prospective study, 20 pregnant women without gestational diabetes were evaluated at 36-38 weeks of gestation, and their newborns were assessed after parturition. In this cohort, which included normal (n = 10) and obese (n = 10) subjects based on prepregnancy body mass index, serum levels of SCFAs (acetate, propionate, and butyrate), maternal adipokines, maternal glucose, and C-peptide were measured at 36-38 weeks of gestation. Maternal weight gain and newborn anthropometrics were also determined. Data were analyzed using linear regression to test for associations, adjusting for prepregnancy obesity. In this cohort, serum acetate levels were associated with maternal weight gain and maternal adiponectin levels. In addition, serum propionate correlated negatively with maternal leptin levels, newborn length, and body weight. Taken together, this study observed that novel relationships exist among maternal SCFA levels and multiple interrelated maternal/newborn metabolic parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
JournalTranslational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Abbreviations
  • BMI
  • SCFA
  • body mass index
  • short-chain fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Physiology (medical)


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