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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 917672, 13 pages
Review Article

Programming of Fetal Insulin Resistance in Pregnancies with Maternal Obesity by ER Stress and Inflammation

1Cellular and Molecular Physiology Laboratory (CMPL), Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, P.O. Box 114-D, 8330024 Santiago, Chile
2Facultad de Ciencia, Universidad San Sebastián, 7510157 Santiago, Chile
3Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDiS), Faculty of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Sciences & Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, 8380492 Santiago, Chile
4Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad San Sebastián, 7510157 Santiago, Chile
5University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR), Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Herston, 4006 QLD, Australia

Received 13 April 2014; Accepted 4 June 2014; Published 30 June 2014

Academic Editor: Leslie Myatt

Copyright © 2014 Francisco Westermeier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The global epidemics of obesity during pregnancy and excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) are major public health problems worldwide. Obesity and excessive GWG are related to several maternal and fetal complications, including diabetes (pregestational and gestational diabetes) and intrauterine programming of insulin resistance (IR). Maternal obesity (MO) and neonatal IR are associated with long-term development of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and increased global cardiovascular risk in the offspring. Multiple mechanisms of insulin signaling pathway impairment have been described in obese individuals, involving complex interactions of chronically elevated inflammatory mediators, adipokines, and the critical role of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-dependent unfolded protein response (UPR). However, the underlying cellular processes linking MO and IR in the offspring have not been fully elucidated. Here, we summarize the state-of-the-art evidence supporting the possibility that adverse metabolic postnatal outcomes such as IR in the offspring of pregnancies with MO and/or excessive GWG may be related to intrauterine activation of ER stress response.