Context: Maternal obesity is associated with high plasma triglyceride, poor vascular function, and an increased risk for pregnancy complications. In normal-weight pregnant women, higher triglyceride is associated with increased small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Hypothesis: In obese pregnancy, increased plasma triglyceride concentrations result in triglyceride enrichment of very low-density lipoprotein-1 particles and formation of small dense LDL via lipoprotein lipase. Design: Women (n = 55) of body mass index of 18-46 kg/m(2) were sampled longitudinally at 12, 26, and 35 weeks' gestation and 4 months postnatally. Setting: Women were recruited at hospital antenatal appointments, and study visits were in a clinical research suite. Outcome Measures: Plasma concentrations of lipids, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, lipoprotein lipase mass, estradiol, steroid hormone binding globulin, insulin, glucose, leptin, and adiponectin were determined. Results: Obese women commenced pregnancy with higher plasma triglyceride, reached the same maximum, and then returned to higher postnatal levels than normal-weight women. Estradiol response to pregnancy (trimester 1-3 incremental area under the curve) was positively associated with plasma triglyceride response (r(2) adjusted 25%, P < .001). In the third trimester, the proportion of small, dense LDL was 2-fold higher in obese women than normal-weight women[mean (SD) 40.7 (18.8) vs 21.9 (10.9)%, P = .014], and 35% of obese, 14% of overweight, and none of the normal-weight women displayed an atherogenic LDL subfraction phenotype. The small, dense LDL mass response to pregnancy was inversely associated with adiponectin response (17%, P = .013). Conclusions: Maternal obesity is associated with an atherogenic LDL subfraction phenotype and may provide a mechanistic link to poor vascular function and adverse pregnancy outcome.
2013. Vol. 98, no 2, 643-652 p.