Oral Presentation The International Congress of Neuroendocrinology 2014

Nutritional programming by maternal diet-induced Obesity  (#3)

Susan Ozanne 1
  1. Metabolic Research Laboratories and MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit , University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

It is widely recognised that events in early life can influence the risk of an individual developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease in later life. Much of the early focus was directed towards the effects of maternal under-nutrition and low birth weight on the long-term health of an individual. However in light of the growing epidemic of obesity, including in women of child-bearing age, attention has now been directed towards understanding the effects of maternal over-nutrition during pregnancy and lactation on the offspring. To address this we have used a mouse model of maternal diet-induced obesity where pregnant and lactating mice are fed a diet rich in saturated fats and simple sugars (reflective of a human westernized diet) to induce obesity. This maternal dietary manipulation leads to cardiovascular dysfunction and insulin resistance in the offspring that is associated with post-transcriptional programming of insulin signaling protein expression that may underlie these effects. The offspring of obese dams are also more susceptible to diet induced obesity. As well as utilizing the mouse model as a tool to identify mechanisms through which programmed changes in the offspring arise, we have also utilized it to identify factors in the obese mother that mediate the detrimental effects in the offspring. Maternal hyperinsulinaemia, which is amenable to lifestyle interventions such as increased physical activity, has emerged as one important parameter. These findings in an animal model therefore provide important insight into rational intervention strategies that have the potential to prevent transmission of metabolic dysfunction between generations.