A new study using a mouse model that mimics the human effects of multiparity (giving birth more than once) has found that mouse moms who gave birth four times accrued significantly more fat compared to primiparous females (those giving birth once) of similar age.
The study also found significantly more inflammation in the livers of multiparous animals. Multiparity's effect also extended to the male offspring, who showed significant weight gain during adulthood. Their primiparous counterparts did not, despite similar levels of food consumption. The findings are contained in a study entitled "Multiparity Leads to Obesity and Inflammation in Mothers and Obesity in Male Offspring," and appear in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by the American Physiological Society.Methodology
The researchers compared one group of mice that gave birth four times with a second group of mice that gave birth only once, some of these at the same age that the first group had its fourth litter and some at a younger age.
The researchers weighed these animals and assessed the size of their fat deposits. They also performed glucose tolerance tests in all the mice and measured biochemical markers of inflammation. Additionally, the researchers performed similar tests in the male offspring of primiparous and multiparous mice, and measured weight, fat deposits, and glucose tolerance. They also measured the expression levels of various genes involved in storing versus using fat.Results
The second part of the study revealed that male offspring of multiparous mice weighed as much as 40 percent more than the male offspring of primiparous mice, despite eating no more food. Interestingly, the differences became apparent when the offspring were older, suggesting that excess energy was stored as fat only after growth rate slowed down. When the researchers examined genes responsible for storing versus using fat, the offspring of multiparous animals appeared to use less fat compared to those of the primiparous animals.Importance, Implications of the Findings
The authors suggest that finding effective ways to help women lose weight between pregnancies will assist in maintaining their health and that of their children, though additional interventions will likely be required as multiple pregnancies appear to have an adverse effect on women that is independent of her fat mass. "The current studies are important in supporting a healthier, less obese population in that we have defined specific metabolic pathways that are likely involved in the programming of obesity and can be targeted in either the mother or her offspring," the authors say.Study Team
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Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function to create health or disease. The American Physiological Society (APS; http://www.the-APS.org/press) has been promoting advances in physiology and medicine for 125 years. To keep up with the science, follow @Phyziochick on Twitter.
Donna Krupa | EurekAlert!
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