Maternal obesogenic diet enhances cholestatic liver disease in offspring

J Lipid Res. 2022 May;63(5):100205. doi: 10.1016/j.jlr.2022.100205. Epub 2022 Mar 25.


Human and animal model data show that maternal obesity promotes nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in offspring and alters bile acid (BA) homeostasis. Here we investigated whether offspring exposed to maternal obesogenic diets exhibited greater cholestatic injury. We fed female C57Bl6 mice conventional chow (CON) or high fat/high sucrose (HF/HS) diet and then bred them with lean males. Offspring were fed 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) for 2 weeks to induce cholestasis, and a subgroup was then fed CON for an additional 10 days. Additionally, to evaluate the role of the gut microbiome, we fed antibiotic-treated mice cecal contents from CON or HF/HS offspring, followed by DDC for 2 weeks. We found that HF/HS offspring fed DDC exhibited increased fine branching of the bile duct (ductular reaction) and fibrosis but did not differ in BA pool size or intrahepatic BA profile compared to offspring of mice fed CON. We also found that after 10 days recovery, HF/HS offspring exhibited sustained ductular reaction and periportal fibrosis, while lesions in CON offspring were resolved. In addition, cecal microbiome transplant from HF/HS offspring donors worsened ductular reaction, inflammation, and fibrosis in mice fed DDC. Finally, transfer of the microbiome from HF/HS offspring replicated the cholestatic liver injury phenotype. Taken together, we conclude that maternal HF/HS diet predisposes offspring to increased cholestatic injury after DDC feeding and delays recovery after returning to CON diets. These findings highlight the impact of maternal obesogenic diet on hepatobiliary injury and repair pathways during experimental cholestasis.

Keywords: NAFLD; animal models; bile acid metabolism; cecal transplant; cholestatic liver disease; ductular reaction; liver; maternal high fat/high sucrose; microbiome; obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Cholestasis* / chemically induced
  • Cholestasis* / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / chemically induced
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / metabolism
  • Pregnancy


  • Bile Acids and Salts