Stress during pregnancy leads to abdominal obesity in mice offspring

A new report involving mice suggests that a relationship exists between maternal metabolic or psychological stress and the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in her offspring. What's more, the report shows that if the stress cannot be reduced or eliminated, manipulating the neuropeptide Y (NPY) system in visceral fat may prevent maternal stress-induced obesity from occurring in the next generation. This discovery is reported in the August 2012 issue of The FASEB Journal.

"Obesity is a worldwide disease. Here we found that maternal stress, psychologically and metabolically, increases abdominal obesity and in the next generation in a sex-specific manner, which is mediated by the NPY system in visceral fat," said Ruijun Han, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of and Physiology, Stress Physiology Center at the University of Minnesota. "Our study suggested that NPY in the platelet-rich plasma and its Y2 receptor in the visceral fat, play an important role in maternal stress-programmed abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome in offspring."

To make this discovery, Young and colleagues fed different groups of a low protein diet during pregnancy and lactation; a normal protein diet during pregnancy and lactation; or a only during pregnancy. After weaning, all the pups were fed high fat diets for 18 weeks, and metabolic parameters and expression of NPY system in periphery tissues were monitored and measured.

"There are a lot of reasons why expectant mothers should not be under stress," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The , "and this report adds yet another reason. What's most interesting, however, is that it provides some insight into how we can counter the negative effects of stress, even when it's not possible to reduce or eliminate the stressors themselves."

More information: Ruijun Han, Aiyun Li, Lijun Li, Joanna B. Kitlinska, and Zofia Zukowska. Maternal low-protein diet up-regulates the neuropeptide Y system in visceral fat and leads to abdominal obesity and glucose intolerance in a sex- and time-specific manner. FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.12-203943

Related Stories

Maternal stress during pregnancy may affect child's obesity

Apr 12, 2011

There is increasing evidence from human and animal studies that offspring of parents who were physically or psychologically stressed are at higher risk of developing obesity, and that these offspring may in turn "transmit" ...

Recommended for you

Vitamin D may not prevent return of vaginosis after all

20 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A new study suggests that high doses of vitamin D may not help prevent the return of bacterial vaginosis (BV). The research was published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Eating disorders linked to adverse perinatal outcomes

Oct 22, 2014

(HealthDay)—Maternal eating disorders are associated with adverse pregnancy, obstetric, and perinatal health outcomes, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & ...

Large variation in cesarean rates across US hospitals

Oct 21, 2014

Cesarean delivery is the most common inpatient surgery in the United States. US cesarean rates increased from 20.7% in 1996 to 32.9% in 2009 but have since stabilized, with 1.3 million American women having had a cesarean ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.