Microbial Reconstitution Reverses Early Female Puberty Induced by Maternal High-fat Diet During Lactation

Endocrinology. 2020 Feb 1;161(2):bqz041. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqz041.


Recent work shows that gut microbial dysbiosis contributes to the risk of obesity in children whose mothers consume a high-fat diet (HFD) during both gestation and lactation or during gestation alone. Obesity predisposes children to developing precocious puberty. However, to date, no study has examined how maternal HFD (MHFD) during lactation regulates the gut microbiota (GM), pubertal timing, and fertility of offspring. Here, we found that MHFD during lactation markedly altered the GM of offspring. The pups developed juvenile obesity, early puberty, irregular estrous cycles, and signs of disrupted glucose metabolism. Remarkably, permitting coprophagia between MHFD and maternal normal chow offspring successfully reversed the GM changes as well as early puberty and insulin insensitivity. Our data suggest that microbial reconstitution may prevent or treat early puberty associated with insulin resistance.

Keywords: gut microbiota; lactation; maternal high-fat diet; metabolism; puberty.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lactation*
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications
  • Pediatric Obesity / microbiology*
  • Puberty, Precocious / microbiology*