Preconceptional paternal caloric restriction of high-fat diet-induced obesity in Wistar rats dysregulates the metabolism of their offspring via AMPK/SIRT1 pathway

Lipids Health Dis. 2024 Jun 8;23(1):174. doi: 10.1186/s12944-024-02161-6.


Background: Obesity is a metabolic syndrome where allelic and environmental variations together determine the susceptibility of an individual to the disease. Caloric restriction (CR) is a nutritional dietary strategy recognized to be beneficial as a weight loss regime in obese individuals. Preconceptional parental CR is proven to have detrimental effects on the health and development of their offspring. As yet studies on maternal CR effect on their offspring are well established but paternal CR studies are not progressing. In current study, the impact of different paternal CR regimes in diet-induced obese male Wistar rats (WNIN), on their offspring concerning metabolic syndrome are addressed.

Methods: High-fat diet-induced obese male Wistar rats were subjected to caloric restriction of 50% (HFCR-I) and 40% (HFCR-II) and then they were mated with normal females. The male parent's reproductive function was assessed by sperm parameters and their DNMT's mRNA expression levels were also examined. The offspring's metabolic function was assessed by physiological, biochemical and molecular parameters.

Results: The HFCR-I male parents have shown reduced body weights, compromised male fertility and reduced DNA methylation activity. Further, the HFCR-I offspring showed attenuation of the AMPK/SIRT1 pathway, which is associated with the progression of proinflammatory status and oxidative stress. In line, the HFCR-I offspring also developed altered glucose and lipid homeostasis by exhibiting impaired glucose tolerance & insulin sensitivity, dyslipidemia and steatosis. However, these effects were largely mitigated in HFCR-II offspring. Regarding the obesogenic effects, female offspring exhibited greater susceptibility than male offspring, suggesting that females are more prone to the influences of the paternal diet.

Conclusion: The findings highlight that HFCR-I resulted in paternal undernutrition, impacting the health of offspring, whereas HFCR-II largely restored the effects of a high-fat diet on their offspring. As a result, moderate caloric restriction has emerged as an effective weight loss strategy with minimal implications on future generations. This underscores the shared responsibility of fathers in contributing to sperm-specific epigenetic imprints that influence the health of adult offspring.

Keywords: Male fertility; Metabolic disorders; Paternal caloric restriction; SIRT1 and AMPK..

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Diet, High-Fat* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Male
  • Obesity* / etiology
  • Obesity* / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sirtuin 1* / genetics
  • Sirtuin 1* / metabolism


  • Sirtuin 1
  • Sirt1 protein, rat
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases