Fructooligosaccharides Intake during Pregnancy Improves Metabolic Phenotype of Offspring in High Fat Diet-Induced Obese Mice

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2024 May;68(9):e2300758. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.202300758. Epub 2024 Apr 19.


Scope: Obesity and metabolic diseases are closely associated, and individuals who become obese are also prone to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Gut microbiota is mediated by diet and can influence host metabolism and the incidence of metabolic disorders. Recent studies have suggested that improving gut microbiota through a fructooligosaccharide (FOS)-supplemented diet may ameliorate obesity and other metabolic disorders. Although accumulating evidence supports the notion of the developmental origins of health and disease, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure.

Methods and results: ICR mice are fed AIN-93G formula-based cellulose -, FOS-, acetate-, or propionate-supplemented diets during pregnancy. Offspring are reared by conventional ICR foster mothers for 4 weeks; weaned mice are fed high fat diet for 12 weeks and housed individually. The FOS and propionate offspring contribute to suppressing obesity and improving glucose intolerance. Gut microbial compositions in FOS-fed mothers and their offspring are markedly changed. However, the beneficial effect of FOS diet on the offspring is abolished when antibiotics are administered to pregnant mice.

Conclusion: The findings highlight the link between the maternal gut environment and the developmental origin of metabolic syndrome in offspring. These results open novel research avenues into preemptive therapies for metabolic disorders by targeting the maternal gut microbiota.

Keywords: fructooligosaccharides; gut microbiota; obesity; offspring; short‐chain fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR*
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity*
  • Oligosaccharides* / administration & dosage
  • Oligosaccharides* / pharmacology
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects


  • Oligosaccharides
  • fructooligosaccharide