Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is traditionally defined as hyperglycemia first detected
in pregnancy. The risk of GDM is much higher among obese women than in their lean counterparts.
An excess of adipose tissue leads to immune and inflammatory responses of both white adipose tissue
and the placenta, contributing to systemic inflammation. Although the significance of both obesity and
inflammation is relatively well characterized in GDM, the molecular mechanisms involved are not
fully defined and require further study. In recent years huge progress has been made in identifying the
intracellular signaling pathways involved in the pathophysiology of GDM. However, currently available data regarding inflammation
and obesity in women with GDM are still conflicting or incomplete. We discuss selected aspects of the problem
and propose future directions for research in the hope of achieving a better understanding of the disease. In particular,
this review highlights recent studies exploring molecular alterations related to insulin resistance, inflammation of the adipose
tissue and the placenta, lipotoxicity or endotoxemia.
Keywords: Cytokines, gestational diabetes mellitus, inflammation, insulin resistance, lipotoxicity, obesity.
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