Maternal Nutrient Restriction and Skeletal Muscle Development: Consequences for Postnatal Health. Academic Article uri icon


  • Severe undernutrition and famine continue to be a worldwide concern, as cases have been increasing in the past 5years, particularly in developing countries. The occurrence of nutrient restriction (NR) during pregnancy affects fetal growth, leading to small for gestational age (SGA) or intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) offspring. During adulthood, SGA and IUGR offspring are at a higher risk for the development of metabolic syndrome. Skeletal muscle is particularly sensitive to prenatal NR. This tissue plays an essential role in oxidation and glucose metabolism because roughly 80% of insulin-mediated glucose uptake occurs in muscle, and it represents around 40% of body weight. Alterations in myofiber number, hypertrophy and myofiber type composition, decreased protein synthesis, lower mitochondrial content and activity of oxidative enzymes, and increased accumulation of intramuscular triglycerides are among the described programming effects of maternal NR on skeletal muscle. Together, these features would add to a phenotype that is prone to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Insights from diverse animal models (i.e. ovine, swine, and rodent) have provided valuable information regarding the molecular mechanisms behind those altered developmental pathways. Understanding those molecular signatures supports the development of efficient treatments to counteract the effects of maternal NR on skeletal muscle, and its negative implications for postnatal health.

published proceedings

  • Adv Exp Med Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Sandoval, C., Wu, G., Smith, S. B., Dunlap, K. A., & Satterfield, M. C.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Sandoval, Camila||Wu, Guoyao||Smith, Stephen B||Dunlap, Kathrin A||Satterfield, M Carey

editor list (cited editors)

  • Wu, G.

publication date

  • January 2020