A maternal cafeteria diet during gestation and lactation promotes adiposity and impairs skeletal muscle development and metabolism in rat offspring at weaning

J Physiol. 2005 Sep 15;567(Pt 3):951-61. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2005.088989. Epub 2005 Jul 14.


We examined the effects of a maternal cafeteria diet on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue development in the offspring at weaning. Rats born to mothers fed the cafeteria diet either during gestation alone or during both gestation and lactation exhibited a 25% reduction in muscle cross-sectional area with approximately 20% fewer fibres compared with pups fed a balanced chow diet. Maintaining the cafeteria diet during lactation increased intramuscular lipid content and fat pad weights characterized by adipocyte hypertrophy but not hyperplasia. These pups also had elevated muscle IGF-1, IGF-1 receptor, and PPARgamma mRNA levels, which may indicate an attempt to maintain normal insulin sensitivity. The increased adiposity and elevated IGF-1, IGF-1 receptor and PPARgamma mRNAs were not seen in the pups rehabilitated to the balanced diet during lactation. However, these pups exhibited reduced muscle cell proliferation (PCNA) with reduced insulin receptor and a trend towards reduced glucose transporter (GLUT)-4 mRNAs when compared with pups fed a balanced chow diet, indicating possible alterations in glucose uptake by muscle tissue. Therefore, rats born to mothers fed a cafeteria diet during gestation alone or during both gestation and lactation exhibited impaired skeletal muscle development and metabolic disorders normally associated with insulin resistance as early as the weaning stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / growth & development*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Hyperphagia / complications
  • Hypertrophy
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Lactation
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism


  • PPAR gamma
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Receptor, Insulin