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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 731434, 11 pages
Review Article

Beneficial Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Gestational Diabetes: Consequences in Macrosomia and Adulthood Obesity

1Laboratory of Cell Biology and Physiology, Department of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (FAST) and Institute of Applied Biomedical Sciences (ISBA), University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 918 Cotonou, Benin
2Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (FAST), University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
3School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Botswana, Private Bag 0022, Gaborone, Botswana

Received 11 June 2014; Revised 25 August 2014; Accepted 4 September 2014

Academic Editor: Marcus G. Pezzolesi

Copyright © 2015 Akadiri Yessoufou 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.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are increasingly being used to prevent cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes and obesity. In this paper, we report data on the observed effects of omega-3 PUFA on major metabolic disorders and immune system disruption during gestational diabetes and their consequences on macrosomia. While controversies still exist about omega-3 PUFA effects on antioxidant status regarding the level of omega-3 PUFA in diet supplementation, their lipid-lowering effects are unanimously recognized by researchers. Animal studies have shown that omega-3 PUFA contributes to the maintenance of the immune defense system by promoting the differentiation of T helper (Th) cell to a Th2 phenotype in diabetic pregnancy and by shifting the Th1/Th2 ratio from a deleterious proinflammatory Th1 phenotype to a protective anti-inflammatory Th2 phenotype in macrosomia and in adulthood obesity that results from macrosomia at birth. Based on the available evidence, international nutritional and food agencies recommend administration of omega-3 PUFA as triglyceride-lowering agents, for the prevention of cardiovascular disease risk and during human pregnancy and lactation. Furthermore, studies targeting humans are still required to explore application of the fatty acids as supplement in the management of gestational diabetes and inflammatory and immune diseases.