Maternal diet intervention before pregnancy primes offspring lipid metabolism in liver. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has a developmental origin and is influenced in utero. We aimed to evaluate if maternal diet intervention before pregnancy would be beneficial to reduce the risk of offspring NAFLD. In our study, female mice were either on a normal-fat diet (NF group), or a high-fat diet for 12 weeks and continued on this diet throughout pregnancy and lactation (HF group), or switched from HF-to-NF diet 1 week (H1N group), or 9 weeks (H9N group) before pregnancy. Compared with the NF offspring, the H1N and HF, but not the H9N offspring, displayed more severe hepatic steatosis and glucose intolerance. More specifically, an abnormal blood lipid panel was seen in the H1N offspring and abnormal hepatic free fatty acid composition was present in both the HF and H1N offspring, while the H9N offspring displayed both at normal levels. These physiological changes were associated with desensitized hepatic insulin/AKT signaling, increased expression of genes and proteins for de novo lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis, decreased expression of genes and proteins for fatty acid oxidation, increased Pcsk9 expression, and hypoactivation of 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling in the HF and H1N offspring. However, these effects were completely or partially rescued in the H9N offspring. In summary, we found that early maternal diet intervention is effective in reducing the risk of offspring NAFLD caused by maternal HF diet. These findings provide significant support to developeffective diet intervention strategiesandpolicies for prevention of obesity and NAFLD to promote optimal health outcomes for mothers and children.

published proceedings

  • Lab Invest

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, Y. i., Peng, H., Xu, H., Li, J., Golovko, M., Cheng, H., ... Xie, L.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Yi||Peng, Hui||Xu, Huiting||Li, Jiangyuan||Golovko, Mikhail||Cheng, Henghui||Lynch, Ernest C||Liu, Lin||McCauley, Naomi||Kennedy, Lindsey||Alpini, Gianfranco||Zhang, Ke K||Xie, Linglin

publication date

  • April 2020