Loss of ERα partially reverses the effects of maternal high-fat diet on energy homeostasis in female mice

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 25;7(1):6381. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06560-x.


Maternal high-fat diet (HFD) alters hypothalamic developmental programming and disrupts offspring energy homeostasis in rodents. 17β-estradiol (E2) also influences hypothalamic programming through estrogen receptor (ER) α. Therefore, we hypothesized that females lacking ERα would be more susceptible to maternal HFD. To address this question, heterozygous ERα knockout (WT/KO) dams were fed a control breeder chow diet (25% fat) or a semi-purified HFD (45% fat) 4 weeks prior to mating with WT/KO males or heterozygous males with an ERα DNA-binding domain mutation knocked in (WT/KI) to produce WT, ERα KO, or ERα KIKO females lacking ERE-dependent ERα signaling. Maternal HFD increased body weight in WT and KIKO, in part, due to increased adiposity and daytime carbohydrate utilization in WT and KIKO, while increasing nighttime fat utilization in KO. Maternal HFD also increased plasma leptin, IL-6, and MCP-1 in WT and increased arcuate expression of Kiss1 and Esr1 (ERα) and liver expression of G6pc and Pepck in WT and KIKO. Contrary to our hypothesis, these data suggest that loss of ERα signaling blocks the influence of maternal HFD on energy homeostasis, inflammation, and hypothalamic and liver gene expression and that restoration of ERE-independent ERα signaling partially reestablishes susceptibility to maternal HFD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Estradiol / chemistry*
  • Estradiol / genetics*
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / chemistry*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / genetics*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Homeostasis
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism
  • Sex Factors
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ccl2 protein, mouse
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • interleukin-6, mouse
  • Estradiol