Transgenerational impact of maternal obesogenic diet on offspring bile acid homeostasis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Apr 1;316(4):E674-E686. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00474.2018. Epub 2019 Mar 12.


Studies show maternal obesity is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in offspring. Here we evaluated potential mechanisms underlying these phenotypes. Female C57Bl6 mice were fed chow or an obesogenic high-fat/high-sucrose (HF/HS) diet with subsequent mating of F1 and F2 female offspring to lean males to develop F2 and F3 generations, respectively. Offspring were fed chow or fibrogenic (high transfat, cholesterol, fructose) diets, and histopathological, metabolic changes, and bile acid (BA) homeostasis was evaluated. Chow-fed F1 offspring from maternal HF/HS lineages (HF/HS) developed periportal fibrosis and inflammation with aging, without differences in hepatic steatosis but increased BA pool size and shifts in BA composition. F1, but not F2 or F3, offspring from HF/HS showed increased steatosis on a fibrogenic diet, yet inflammation and fibrosis were paradoxically decreased in F1 offspring, a trend continued in F2 and F3 offspring. HF/HS feeding leads to increased periportal fibrosis and inflammation in chow-fed offspring without increased hepatic steatosis. By contrast, fibrogenic diet-fed F1 offspring from HF/HS dams exhibited worse hepatic steatosis but decreased inflammation and fibrosis. These findings highlight complex adaptations in NAFLD phenotypes with maternal diet.

Keywords: bile acid metabolism; fatty liver; liver fibrosis; maternal high-fat/high-sucrose diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Fructose
  • Homeostasis
  • Inflammation
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism*
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology
  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose
  • Cholesterol