Adipose tissue expansion progresses rapidly during postnatal life, influenced by both prenatal maternal factors and postnatal developmental cues. The ratio of omega-6 (n-6) relative to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is believed to regulate perinatal adipogenesis, but the cellular mechanisms and long-term effects are not well understood. We lowered the fetal and postnatal n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio exposure in wild-type offspring under standard maternal dietary fat amounts to test the effects of low n-6/n-3 ratios on offspring adipogenesis and adipogenic potential. Relative to wild-type pups receiving high perinatal n-6/n-3 ratios, subcutaneous adipose tissue in 14-day-old wild-type pups receiving low n-6/n-3 ratios had more adipocytes that were smaller in size; decreased Pparγ2, Fabp4, and Plin1; several lipid metabolism mRNAs; coincident hypermethylation of the PPARγ2 proximal promoter; and elevated circulating adiponectin. As adults, offspring that received low perinatal n-6/n-3 ratios were diet-induced obesity (DIO) resistant and had a lower positive energy balance and energy intake, greater lipid fuel preference and non-resting energy expenditure, one-half the body fat, and better glucose clearance. Together, the findings support a model in which low early-life n-6/n-3 ratios remodel adipose morphology to increase circulating adiponectin, resulting in a persistent adult phenotype with improved metabolic flexibility that prevents DIO.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.