Maternal hypomagnesemia causes placental abnormalities and fetal and postnatal mortality

Schlegel, R. N., Cuffe, J. S. M., Moritz, K. M. and Paravicini, T. M. (2015) Maternal hypomagnesemia causes placental abnormalities and fetal and postnatal mortality. Placenta, 36 7: 750-758. doi:10.1016/j.placenta.2015.03.011

Author Schlegel, R. N.
Cuffe, J. S. M.
Moritz, K. M.
Paravicini, T. M.
Title Maternal hypomagnesemia causes placental abnormalities and fetal and postnatal mortality
Journal name Placenta   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1532-3102
Publication date 2015-07-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.placenta.2015.03.011
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 36
Issue 7
Start page 750
End page 758
Total pages 9
Place of publication London United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract

Magnesium (Mg2+) is essential for cellular growth and the maintenance of normal cellular processes. However, little is known about how maternal hypomagnesemia during pregnancy affects fetal growth and development. This study investigated the effects of maternal hypomagnesemia on the late gestation placenta and fetus, and postnatal outcomes until weaning.


Female CD1 mice consumed a control (0.2% w/w Mg2+), moderately Mg2+ deficient (MMD; 0.02% w/w Mg2+) or severely Mg2+ deficient (SMD; 0.005% w/w Mg2+) diet for 4 weeks prior to mating and throughout pregnancy. Dams were killed at E18.5 for embryonic studies or allowed to litter naturally and the offspring studied up to postnatal day 21.


At E18.5, both Mg2+ deficient diets decreased maternal plasma and bone Mg2+ but only the SMD diet decreased fetal plasma Mg2+. Maternal hypomagnesemia led to fetal loss and fetal growth restriction. Maternal Mg2+ deficiency increased placental glycogen cell area and decreased spongiotrophoblast cell area while upregulating mRNA expression of the MagT1 Mg2+ transporter in spongiotrophoblast cells. The SMD animals also displayed instances of gross placental abnormalities. After birth, pups in the SMD group had increased early postnatal mortality and failed to thrive. Pups in the MMD group underwent catch-up growth but remained shorter than controls at PN21 and were hypomagnesemic and hypoglycemic.


These changes suggest that maternal Mg2+ deficiency during pregnancy impairs placental development and fetal growth, which may have long-term health consequences for offspring. Collectively, these results have important implications for women who are Mg2+ deficient during pregnancy.
Keyword Hypomagnesemia
Fetal growth restriction
Placental glycogen
Mg2+ channels
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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