Dietary intervention rescues maternal obesity induced behavior deficits and neuroinflammation in offspring

J Neuroinflammation. 2014 Sep 12;11:156. doi: 10.1186/s12974-014-0156-9.


Obesity induces a low-grade inflammatory state and has been associated with behavioral and cognitive alterations. Importantly, maternal environmental insults can adversely impact subsequent offspring behavior and have been linked with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHDH). It is unknown if maternal obesity significantly alters offspring sociability, a key ASD feature, and if altering maternal diet will provide an efficacious intervention paradigm for behavioral deficits. Here we investigated the impact of maternal high fat diet (HFD) and maternal dietary intervention during lactation on offspring behavior and brain inflammation in mice. We found that maternal HFD increased anxiety and decreased sociability in female offspring. Additionally, female offspring from HFD-fed dams also exhibited increased brain IL-1β and TNFα and microglial activation. Importantly, maternal dietary intervention during lactation was sufficient to alleviate social deficits and brain inflammation. Maternal obesity during gestation alone was sufficient to increase hyperactivity in male offspring, a phenotype that was not ameliorated by dietary intervention. These data suggest that maternal HFD acts as a prenatal/perinatal insult that significantly impacts offspring behavior and inflammation and that dietary intervention during lactation may be an easily translatable, efficacious intervention to offset some of these manifestations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Brain / immunology*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / diet therapy*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction