Maternal secretin ameliorates obesity by promoting white adipose tissue browning in offspring

EMBO Rep. 2022 Jul 5;23(7):e54132. doi: 10.15252/embr.202154132. Epub 2022 Jun 2.


Our knowledge of the coordination of intergenerational inheritance and offspring metabolic reprogramming by gastrointestinal endocrine factors is largely unknown. Here, we showed that secretin (SCT), a brain-gut peptide, is downregulated by overnutrition in pregnant mice and women. More importantly, genetic loss of SCT in the maternal gut results in undesirable phenotypes developed in offspring including enhanced high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and attenuated browning of inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT). Mechanistically, loss of maternal SCT represses iWAT browning in offspring by a global change in genome methylation pattern through upregulation of DNMT1. SCT functions to facilitate ubiquitination and degradation of DNMT1 by activating AMPKα, which contributes to the observed alteration of DNMT1 in progeny. Lastly, we showed that SCT treatment during pregnancy can reduce the development of obesity and improve glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in offspring of HFD-fed females, suggesting that SCT may serve as a novel biomarker or a strategy for preventing metabolic diseases.

Keywords: intergenerational effects; metabolic homeostasis; obesity; secretin; white adipose tissue browning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Secretin* / metabolism


  • Secretin