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University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado Denver

Linda A. Barbour, MD, MSPH

Faculty Profile

Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology

Divisions of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes and Maternal-Fetal Medicine

University of CO at Denver


Regulation of Maternal Fuel Supply and the Effect on Fetal Fat Accretion in Obesity and GDM


1)  NIH R56 DK078645 “Regulation of Maternal Fuel Supply and Neonatal Adiposity”

2)  NIH R01 DK078645 “Regulation of Maternal Fuel Supply and Neonatal Adiposity”

3)  DERC P&F Grant/NIDDK P30DK57516-05  “Macronutrient Diet Composition and its Effect on Glycemic and Lipoprotein Profiles in Women with GDM”


Description of Research:

We study the intrauterine programming effect of a mother’s lipid and glucose metabolism on fetal fat accretion and neonatal adiposity in obese women and mothers with gestational diabetes (GDM).  Compelling animal and human epidemiologic evidence supports that an intrauterine environment that promotes fetal overgrowth influences body composition at birth and may potentiate the risk of childhood obesity.  We have demonstrated that fasting maternal hypertriglyceridemia is a strong predictor of neonatal body fat and are further investigating the source of TG particles and FFA availability as a key fetal fuel.  We are further examining TG availability through the maternal diet, increased lipolysis in maternal adipose tissue, and LPL activity in both maternal adipose and placental tissue. We are also exploring whether the neonatal adipose phenotype persists at one year and the role of infant nutrition on determining the body composition at 1 year of life. 


Specific to the GDM population of women, we are also evaluating whether a higher fat, lower carbohydrate versus a higher complex carbohydrate, lower fat diet has a more favorable effect on maternal lipoprotein and glycemic profiles, inflammatory markers, and neonatal oxidized LDL and body composition.        


Most Significant Publication:

Barbour LA, McCurdy CE, Knotts TA, Shao J, Kirwan J, Catalano P, Friedman JE.  Cellular Mechanisms for Insulin Resistance in Normal Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes.  Diabetes Care 2007;30:S1-8.    


Primary Focus Area (as part of obesity initiative):

Intrauterine Programming of Offspring Obesity


Secondary Focus:

Effect of the Macronutrient Diet Composition in GDM 

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