Nutr Res Pract.  2016 Aug;10(4):386-392. 10.4162/nrp.2016.10.4.386.

Effects of disturbed liver growth and oxidative stress of high-fat diet-fed dams on cholesterol metabolism in offspring mice

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea.
  • 2Research Institute of Human Ecology, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.


Changes in nutritional status during gestation and lactation have detrimental effects on offspring metabolism. Several animal studies have shown that maternal high-fat diet (HFD) can predispose the offspring to development of obesity and metabolic diseases, however the mechanisms underlying these transgenerational effects are poorly understood. Therefore, we examined the effect of maternal HFD consumption on metabolic phenotype and hepatic expression of involved genes in dams to determine whether any of these parameters were associated with the metabolic outcomes in the offspring.
Female C57BL/6 mice were fed a low-fat diet (LFD: 10% calories from fat) or a high-fat diet (HFD: 45% calories from fat) for three weeks before mating, and during pregnancy and lactation. Dams and their male offspring were studied at weaning.
Dams fed an HFD had significantly higher body and adipose tissue weights and higher serum triglyceride and cholesterol levels than dams fed an LFD. Hepatic lipid levels and mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism, including LXRα, SREBP-2, FXR, LDLR, and ABCG8 were significantly changed by maternal HFD intake. Significantly lower total liver DNA and protein contents were observed in dams fed an HFD, implicating the disturbed liver adaptation in the pregnancy-related metabolic demand. HFD feeding also induced significant oxidative stress in serum and liver of dams. Offspring of dams fed an HFD had significantly higher serum cholesterol levels, which were negatively correlated with liver weights of dams and positively correlated with hepatic lipid peroxide levels in dams.
Maternal HFD consumption induced metabolic dysfunction, including altered liver growth and oxidative stress in dams, which may contribute to the disturbed cholesterol homeostasis in the early life of male mice offspring.


Cholesterol metabolism; liver; high-fat diet; offspring; oxidative stress
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