Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Blood flow in the fetal liver linked to mother’s slimness and diet

20.01.2005


Researchers have discovered a link between the amount of blood flowing through the liver of the unborn baby in late pregnancy and the diet of expectant mums. In slim mothers and those who eat an unbalanced diet the amount of blood flowing to the liver is increased. While this ‘liver-sparing’ pattern of blood flow is thought to protect the foetus from a nutrient deficit, the researchers believe it may also affect liver function in later life, increasing the risk of adult heart disease and diabetes in the offspring.



To determine how a mother’s diet and slimness might have long-term effects on the health of her baby, researchers from the Universities of Southampton, Bergen and Oslo used ultrasound to measure blood flow to the liver of the developing baby late in pregnancy. The researchers studied a group of 381 healthy babies whose mothers are part of a large project studying nutrition before and during pregnancy.

Their findings, published this month in the American journal Circulation Research, suggest that the babies of slimmer mothers with lower body fat stores and those eating an unbalanced diet have greater liver blood flow and divert less blood away from the liver in late pregnancy. This change in blood flow may cause subtle changes in the development of the liver and alter the baby’s ability to cope with a high-fat “Western” diet in later life, thereby predisposing to adult heart disease and diabetes. The research suggests that improving a mother’s nutrition before she conceives could have lifelong benefits for the health of her baby.


The mothers in the research study are part of the Southampton Women’s Survey, a unique study of nutrition before and during pregnancy. By measuring the growth and development of the babies during the pre-school years the researchers hope to identify whether or not the liver blood flow adaptations in the womb have long-term implications.

Dr Keith Godfrey, a scientist in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Resource Centre at the University of Southampton’s School of Medicine, who led the study, commented: ‘During pregnancy, the developing baby is wholly dependent upon the mother for an adequate and appropriate supply of nutrients. This research is the first work to recognise that a mother’s slimness and diet alter the circulation of blood in her developing baby in the womb. As a mother’s slimness and unbalanced diet during pregnancy have been linked with susceptibility to heart disease and diabetes in the offspring in later life, the findings may have important implications.’

‘The observations suggest that before birth many normal babies adapt to the supply of nutrients from the mother and alter the amount of blood flowing to the liver. We believe that this ‘liver-sparing’ adaptation could help the baby to continue growing in the womb, even if the mother’s body is not able to supply the nutrients needed by the baby. However, the adaptations could have long-term consequences for how the liver deals with fat and other nutrients after birth.’

Dr Guttorm Haugen, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oslo and a member of the research team, commented: ‘Further research is required to confirm our findings and to define if the changes in a baby’s blood circulation before birth have any long-term consequences. Our observations offer insights into the circulatory tuning of the fetal liver in relation to a mother’s slimness and diet. The concept of ‘liver-sparing’ could lead to new diagnostic measures to investigate how maternal slimness and unbalanced diet increase the risk of adult heart disease and diabetes in the offspring.’

The study was made possible by using data from the Southampton Women’s Survey, which started in 1998. Since then, researchers from the MRC and the University of Southampton have interviewed 12,500 women in their homes, and followed over 2,000 women through pregnancy.

The Southampton Women’s Survey builds on work conducted by the MRC at the University, which has shown that growth from the very earliest days in the womb affects health in adulthood, particularly the risks of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The research reported this month uses ultrasound measurements of the baby’s circulation. The technique was developed in Norway, mainly at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, one of the leading centres for Doppler ultrasound in obstetrics in the world. The collaboration included Dr. Guttorm Haugen from the University of Oslo, the leading university of Norway, where nutrition is one of the main research fields, and where perinatal nutrition was recently pronounced a particular focus. Dr Haugen has developed the techniques to a new level and provided very useful research tools for further studies of fetal development.

This work is supported by the charities The British Heart Foundation and Hope, by the University of Southampton and by the Medical Research Councils in the UK and Norway.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>