To investigate the role of placental glucose delivery in fetal growth, two glucose transporters (Glut3 and Glut4) were determined from term placentae. This was accomplished by immunoblotting from crude placental membrane samples from cases of fetal intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR, n = 6), macrosomia (n = 6), maternal diabetes mellitus (n = 4) and normal term (n = 8). Glut3 and Glut4 were detected in only very low numbers in all patient groups and there were no changes in their placental density, which suggests that the expression of these transporters is not involved in disorders of fetal growth. However, birth weight corresponded to placental weight, indicating that the total amount of Glut3 and Glut4 is reduced in IUGR and increased in macrosomia.

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