Obesity and related disorders, which are increasing in adults worldwide, are closely linked to childhood diet and are associated with chronic inflammation. Rice endosperm protein (REP) intake during adulthood has been reported to improve lipid metabolism and suppress the progression of diabetic kidney disease in animal models. However, the effects of REP intake during childhood on adulthood health are unclear. Therefore, we used a mouse model to experimentally investigate the preconditioning effects of REP intake during childhood on the development of obesity and related disorders in adulthood. Male C57BL/6J mice were pair-fed a normal-fat diet containing casein or REP during the juvenile period and then a high-fat diet (HFD) containing casein or REP during adulthood. Mice fed REP during the juvenile period showed better body weight, blood pressure, serum lipid profiles, lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-binding protein levels, and glucose tolerance in adulthood than those fed casein during the juvenile period. HFD-induced renal tubulo-glomerular alterations and hepatic microvesicular steatosis were less evident in REP-fed mice than in casein-fed ones. REP intake during the juvenile period improved HFD-induced dysbiosis (i.e., Escherichia genus proliferation and reduced gut microbiota diversity), thereby suppressing endotoxin-related chronic inflammation. Indeed, REP-derived peptides showed antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, a major producer of LPS. In conclusion, REP supplementation during the juvenile period may regulate the gut microbiota and thus suppress the development of obesity and related disorders in adulthood in mice.
Keywords: childhood nutrition; gut microbiota; kidney disease; metabolic syndrome; obesity; rice protein.