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Dr. Patrick Catalano awarded TIGOR Grant

Patrick Catalano Dr. Patrick Catalano, MIRI PI, has received a grant from the Tufts Institute for Global Obesity Research (TIGOR) to determine the longitudinal metabolomic profile of overweight and obese women undergoing lifestyle interventions to decrease weight before and during pregnancy and delivery.

Overweight and obesity affects ~55% of reproductive age women. Of these 45-65% have excessive weight gain during pregnancy (1), but less than 50% return to their pre-pregnancy weight (2). Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is also a significant risk factor risk for neonatal obesity (3) which is itself a significant risk factor for childhood/adult obesity and metabolic dysfunction, thereby propagating the vicious cycle of obesity (4). At the present time we have limited understanding of the effects of obesity in women and lifestyle interventions either before they become pregnant or during pregnancy, and the role of the mother’s metabolic condition in effecting the newborn child and development of obesity The NICHD funded RO1 randomized control trial,“ Lifestyle Intervention in Preparation for Pregnancy (LIPP) “ an ongoing study at Tufts Medical Center and the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) has as an overarching aim to decrease postpartum weight and improve metabolic function of overweight and obese women prior to their next pregnancy; with the goal of decreasing fetal adiposity in the next pregnancy and thus prevention of childhood obesity. The LIPP trial provides an unique opportunity to elucidate underlying mechanisms by which pre-pregnancy status affects metabolic function during pregnancy and fetal adiposity.

The LIPP study is the first NIH funded project to examine the effects of lifestyle intervention in the prevention of childhood obesity initiated before a planned pregnancy. The LIPP project will fulfill one of the objectives of the 2009 IOM gestational weight gain recommendations by “providing pre-conceptual services to obese women, such as diet and physical activity, with the goal of achieving a healthy weight before conceiving, this will represent “a radical change to the care provided to obese women of childbearing age”(5). 

The proposed untargeted metabolomics analysis of LIPP samples provides a novel approach to elucidate metabolites that influence pregnancy metabolism and impact fetal adiposity.