Short-Chain Fatty Acids Linked to Pregnancy Complications

HealthDay News — Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are metabolites of intestinal flora, are associated with pregnancy complications, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

Siqian Chen, from Ningbo University in China, and colleagues examined the expression of SCFAs in gestational complications, including gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), preeclampsia (PE), and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). SCFAs were detected in the serum of 28 GDM pregnant women, 28 PE pregnant women, 29 ICP pregnant women, and 27 healthy pregnant women (NP) using targeted metabonomics.

The researchers identified significant differences between the GDM, PE, ICP, and NP groups in the SCFA metabolic spectrum. The three pregnancy complication groups had significantly higher content of isobutyric acid than the NP group; significant differences were also seen in other SCFAs in the three pregnancy complication groups compared with the NP group. Multiple SCFAs were highly sensitive and specific as diagnostic markers in the pregnancy complication groups in a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, with isobutyric acid highly predictive in GDM and PE (area under the ROC curve [AUC], 0.764 and 1, respectively) and caproic acid highly predictive in ICP (AUC, 0.968).

“This is the first retrospective study that links short-chain fatty acids to the risks of three types of pregnancy complications,” a coauthor said in a statement. “It lays a foundation for the prevention of pregnancy-related diseases in the future.”

Abstract/Full Text