Transgenerational effects of obesity and malnourishment on diabetes risk in F2 generation

Mol Cell Biochem. 2016 Jan;412(1-2):269-80. doi: 10.1007/s11010-015-2633-6. Epub 2015 Dec 26.


Transgenerational inheritance of various diseases and phenotypes has been demonstrated in diverse species and involves various epigenetic markers. Obesity and malnourishment are nutritional stresses that have effects on offspring through increasing their risk of diabetes and/or obesity. Obesity and malnourishment both affect glucose metabolism and alter oxidative stress parameters in key organs. We induced obesity and malnutrition in F0 female rats by the use of obesogenic diet and protein-deficient diet, respectively. F0 obese and malnourished females were mated with control males and their offspring (F1 generation) were maintained on control diets. The male and female F1 offspring were mated with controls and the resultant offspring (F2 generation) were maintained on control diet. Glucose-sensing markers, glucose metabolism, indicators of insulin resistance and oxidative stress parameters were assessed during fetal development and till the adulthood of the offspring. Glucose-sensing genes were significantly over-expressed in distinct fetal tissues of F2 offspring of malnourished F1 females (F2-MF1F), specifically in fetal pancreas, liver, and adipose tissue. Nuclear and mitochondrial 8-oxo-dG DNA content was significantly elevated in F2-MF1F fetal pancreas. Maternal FBG was significantly elevated in F2-MF1F and F2 offspring of obese F1 females (F2-OF1F) during pregnancy. Males and females offspring of F2-OF1 exhibited significantly elevated FBG and impaired OGTT. Offspring of F2-MF1F showed similar results, while that of F2-MF1M did not significantly deviate from controls. F2-OF1F and F2-MF1F offspring exhibited significant deviation in insulin levels and HOMA-IR levels from controls. Malnourishment has a stronger transgenerational effect through maternal line compared to obesity and malnourishment through paternal line in increasing risk of diabetes in F2 generation.

Keywords: Glucose sensing; Malnutrition; Obesity; Oxidative stress; Transgenerational inheritance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics*
  • Female
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Malnutrition / genetics*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Rats


  • Insulin