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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2012 August;64(4):259-80

language: English

Does maternal obesity cause preeclampsia? A systematic review of the evidence

Salihu H. M. 1, 2, De La Cruz C. 2, Rahman S. 2, August E. M. 3

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Florida, College of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA;
2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL, USA;
3 Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL, USA


AIM:The aim of this paper was to assess whether maternal obesity causes preeclampsia.
METHODS: A systematic literature review of the previous two decades (1992-2011) was conducted. The exposure was maternal obesity while the outcome of interest was preeclampsia.
RESULTS: Our review revealed consistent findings showing strong association between obesity and preeclampsia. Multiple biomarkers that potentially explain the mechanistic pathway in this relationship were identified, including leptin and adiponectin, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), C-reactive protein (CRP), and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). A causative biologic linkage remains, however, elusive.
CONCLUSION: Epidemiologic evidence exists linking maternal obesity and preeclampsia. However, the exact causal pathway remains poorly defined. Given the minimal understanding of the nature of this relationship, research studies that utilize prospective designs and expand on the previous examination of biomarkers are recommended to determine potential causative pathways.

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