Offspring predisposition to obesity due to maternal-diet-induced obesity in rats is preventable by dietary normalization before mating

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Mar;61(3). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600513. Epub 2016 Dec 13.


Scope: We studied in rats whether the expected detrimental effects in offspring associated to maternal dietary obesity may be reverted by obesogenic diet removal 1 month before mating.

Methods and results: Female rats were fed a cafeteria diet (CD) from days 10 to 100 and then a standard diet (SD) (postcafeteria rats). One month after CD removal, postcafeteria rats and a group of SD-fed female rats (controls) were mated with males. At weaning, offspring were fed SD and followed until 4 months old. CD was effective at inducing obesity in dams. Its removal led to a reduction in body weight, although, after 30 days, rats retained excess body weight and fat than controls. During lactation, postcafeteria dams showed greater body fat, and higher leptin and adiponectin levels in milk than controls. From 2 months of life, offspring of postcafeteria dams displayed lower body weight than controls, with no differences in the percentage of fat, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance, or circulating parameters.

Conclusion: Removal of CD in obese rats before gestation, although without complete reversion of body weight excess, may prevent the expected detrimental effects in offspring associated to an excess fat accumulation in adulthood and the related metabolic disturbances.

Keywords: Gestation; Lactation; Leptin in milk; Maternal obesity; Postcafeteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Body Weight
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats