Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Losing body fat before pregnancy can be beneficial for the baby

03.02.2011
Obesity among women of childbearing age is increasing worldwide. Because babies of obese mothers are themselves predisposed to obesity, society can reasonably expect the epidemic of obese and overweight people to continue through future generations.

In the midst of this trend, UT Health Science Center San Antonio obstetrics researchers are studying the question: If mothers lose body fat before pregnancy, does it improve the lifelong health of their children? This could be one way to break the transgenerational cycle.

A collaborative study between researchers with the Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research at the Health Science Center and the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico City showed that if obese mothers lose weight before pregnancy, it confers health benefits on their offspring.

Research in rat mothers

In the study, researchers induced maternal obesity by feeding a group of female rats a high-fat diet prior to mating. This group of females ate the fatty chow from weaning through adolescent life to breeding and remained on it through pregnancy and lactation. Meanwhile, females in a second group were switched to normal chow one month before mating.

Reversible metabolic effects

Only male offspring were studied. At weaning, triglycerides, leptin, insulin and insulin resistance were elevated in offspring of obese mothers and all returned to normal if their mothers had received prepregnancy dietary intervention. Fat mass and fat cell size were increased in offspring of fat mothers and these changes were significantly reversed, though not completely abolished, by the dietary intervention. The authors said this is the first study showing reversibility of adverse metabolic effects of maternal obesity on offspring by a pre-pregnancy intervention. Outcomes and reversibility varied by tissue affected.

Good start in life

"Developmental programming sets the scene that influences one's health for the rest of life," Dr. Nathanielsz said. Some differences, such as heart disease and obesity, may not appear until much later in life.

"It is of interest that offspring of the obese mothers also showed high levels of leptin, a hormone that signals the brain to decrease appetite," he said. "This may mean they've developed a brain that is resistant to the signals that tell them they're getting fat, and they just go on eating and thus get fat as their mothers were. That is what we mean when we say that the effects are transgenerational. Leptin levels were normal in the offspring of the intervention group, showing that we can break this cycle."

Further directions

The experiment was novel in developmental programming – the first time a research team intervened to recuperate some animals from high-fat diets.

"We were able to see at least a 50 percent to 60 percent return," Dr. Nathanielsz said. "This is a first step. Perhaps we have to recuperate these rodents with a no-fat diet or add micronutrients to the diet. Or, there may be negative aspects to trying to recuperate too quickly. We believe this sort of information is necessary to provide guidelines as to the type of dietary intervention for women during pregnancy. Much remains to be done."

The Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research is a 6-year-old program in the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center. Its researchers study developmental programming — the concept that if suboptimal conditions exist before birth, tissues develop incorrectly, leading to lifelong health consequences. Dr. Nathanielsz, and Elena Zambrano, M.D., with the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico City, have collaborated on at least a dozen research papers in the developmental programming field.

On Twitter and the Web

For current news from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, please visit our news release website or follow us on Twitter @uthscsa.

About the UT Health Science Center San Antonio

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country's leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways "We make lives better®," visit www.uthscsa.edu.

Will Sansom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uthscsa.edu

Further reports about: Newborn Brain Cells Nutrition health services high-fat diet pregnancy

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

Spectrally narrow x-ray pulses may be “sharpened” by purely mechanical means. This sounds surprisingly, but a team of theoretical and experimental physicists developed and realized such a method. It is based on fast motions, precisely synchronized with the pulses, of a target interacting with the x-ray light. Thereby, photons are redistributed within the x-ray pulse to the desired spectral region.

A team of theoretical physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg has developed a novel method to intensify the spectrally broad x-ray...

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Oestrogen regulates pathological changes of bones via bone lining cells

28.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Satellite data for agriculture

28.07.2017 | Information Technology

Abrupt motion sharpens x-ray pulses

28.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>