Bariatric surgery is increasingly employed to improve fertility and reduce obesity-related co-morbidities in obese women. Surgical weight loss not only improves the chance of conception but reduces the risk of pregnancy complications including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and macrosomia. However, bariatric procedures increase the incidence of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), fetal demise, thromboembolism, and other gestational disorders. Using our rodent model of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG), we tested the hypothesis that VSG in diet-induced, obese dams would cause immune and placental structural abnormalities that may be responsible for fetal demise during pregnancy. VSG dams studied on gestational day (G) 19 had reduced circulating T-cell (CD3+ and CD8+) populations compared with lean or obese controls. Further, local interleukin (IL) and IL 1 receptor antagonist (il1rn) cmRNA were increased in placenta of VSG dams. Placental barrier function was also affected, with increased transplacental permeability to small molecules, increased matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression, and increased apoptosis in VSG. Furthermore, we identified increased placental mTOR signaling that may contribute to preserving the body weight of the fetuses during gestation. These changes occurred in the absence of a macronutrient deficit or gestational hypertension in the VSG dams. In summary, previous VSG in dams may contribute to fetal demise by affecting maternal immune system activity and compromise placental integrity.

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