A maternal high-fat diet is accompanied by alterations in the fetal primate metabolome

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Sep;201(3):281.e1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2009.06.041.


Objective: To characterize the serum metabolome of a primate model of in utero high-fat exposure.

Study design: Serum from maternal and fetal (e130) macaque monkeys exposed to either a high-fat or control diet were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Multivariate data analysis was performed to reduce the generated data set. Candidate metabolites were further analyzed for significance by using the analysis of variance and comparative t tests.

Results: Approximately 1300 chromatographic features were detected. Through multivariate data analysis this number was reduced to 60 possible metabolites. With the use of comparative t tests, 22 metabolites had statistical significance (P < .05) over the entire study. By virtue of maternal high-fat diet alone, fetal phenotypic differences are accompanied by altered metabolite concentrations of 7 metabolites (P < .05).

Conclusion: In utero high-fat diet exposure is associated with an altered fetal epigenome and parlays a characteristic modification in the fetal metabolite profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Fetal Development
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Macaca
  • Metabolome / physiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis


  • Dietary Fats