Background/objectives: The current world-wide obesity epidemic partially results from a vicious circle whereby maternal obesity during pregnancy predisposes the offspring for accelerated weight gain and development of metabolic syndrome. Here we investigate whether low-grade inflammation, characteristic of the obese state, provides a causal role for this disastrous fetal programming in mice.
Methods: We exposed pregnant and lactating C57BL/6JBom female mice to either high-fat diet (HFD), or continuous infusion of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a potent trigger of innate immunity, and studied offspring phenotypes.
Results: Both maternal LPS or HFD treatments rendered the offspring hyperphagic and inept of coping with a HFD challenge during adulthood, increasing their adiposity and weight gain. The metabolic effects were more pronounced in female offspring, while exposed male offspring mounted a larger inflammatory response to HFD at adulthood.
Conclusions: This supports our hypothesis and highlights the programming potential of inflammation in obese pregnancies.