IMSR Public Seminar - "Metformin in pregnancy: a complex balance"

Friday 3 December 2021 (13:00-14:00)

James Durrant

Antonia Hufnagel
Antonia Hufnagel

About this talk

Worldwide over 50% of women enter pregnancy overweight or obese, which leads to a high prevalence of gestational diabetes. Maternal obesity during pregnancy and gestational diabetes have detrimental short- and long-term consequences for mother and child. Hence successful treatment of gestational diabetes is important. Metformin is increasingly used to treat gestational diabetes across the world despite the fact that metformin can cross the placenta into the fetal blood stream with little known about effects of metformin on the fetoplacental unit. We used a mouse (C57Bl6/7) model of diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance to assess effects of maternal metformin treatment during pregnancy on mother, placenta and fetus. Obese dams showed increased fat mass, impaired glucose tolerance and reduced uterine artery function. All these parameters were improved by metformin treatment. Obese placentas were calcified and had reduced labyrinthine area. In accordance with this, placental phenotype fetuses from obese mothers were smaller than control fetuses at the end of pregnancy (E18.5). The changes in fetal growth and in the placenta were not improved following metformin treatment despite the beneficial effects on maternal parameters. Metformin entered the fetal circulation and the placenta in high quantities and could thereby exert direct effects on the fetoplacental unit. This highlights the complex balance in obstetric treatment and the need for further research. 

Please refrain from recording any part of the talk and from photographing or any taking any screenshots of the slides presented.

About the speaker

Antonia Hufnagel is a PhD student in the lab of Professor Susan Ozanne at the Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge. She obtained her BSc degree in Molecular Medicine from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg in 2016 and completed her MRes degree at the University of Cambridge in 2018.

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