Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the more frequent metabolic complication of pregnancy with a prevalence that is significantly increased in the last decade accounting for 12–18% of all pregnancies. Recent evidences strongly suggests that epigenetic profile changes could be involved in the onset of GDM and its related maternal and fetal complications. In particular, the unfavorable intrauterine environment related to hyperglycemia, a feature of GDM, has been evidenced to exert a negative impact on the establishment of the epigenome of the offspring. Furthermore the adverse in utero environment could be one of the mechanisms engaged in the development of adult chronic diseases. The purpose of this article is to review a number of published studies to fill the gap in our understanding of how maternal lifestyle and intrauterine environment influence molecular modifications in the offspring, with an emphasis on epigenetic alterations.
Part of the book: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus