Maternal obesity modulates offspring microflora composition and gastrointestinal functions

July 30, 2014

Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that maternal obesity leads to marked changes in the offspring's gastrointestinal microflora composition and gastrointestinal function.

The gastrointestinal microflora consists of multiple species of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of animals and assists the host in digestion. An imbalance in an individual's microflora is suspected to contribute to the development and persistence of obesity. An increase in firmicutes to bacteriodetes ratio is a trademark of obesity and is linked to an increase in gastrointestinal permeability, systemic inflammation and weight gain. Results from this new study show that the "obese" microflora may be passed from a mother to offspring. In rodents, offspring from exhibited an increase in firmicutes to bacteriodetes ratio and an increase in gastrointestinal permeability. This is a unique finding because it suggests that there are non-genetic factors that could be passed from a mother to offspring to increase the susceptibility to obesity.

Today about 30% of women entering pregnancy are obese and their children are at greater risk for and associated metabolic disorders. "Modulation of microflora composition is fairly easy and non-invasive and may be of benefit for these children," says Dr. de la Serre. Her research team will continue these studies to investigate whether this may be a viable treatment option and promote the health of the offspring.

Explore further: Obese mums may pass health risks on to grandchildren

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Rio athletes may benefit from 'leaky gut' therapy

June 29, 2016

'Leaky gut' is a condition where the thin mucosal barrier of the gut, which plays a role in absorbing nutrients and preventing large molecules and germs from the gut entering the blood stream, becomes less effective.

Doctors swamped by 'e-medicine' demands

June 29, 2016

(HealthDay)—Doctors say they're drowning in electronic paperwork, feeling burned out and dissatisfied with their jobs thanks to countless hours spent filling out computerized medical forms, researchers report.

E-cigarette vapors could be toxic to mouth, study finds

June 28, 2016

A new UCLA study suggests that e-cigarettes may not be significantly safer than tobacco cigarettes. The research, which was conducted on cultured cells, found that e-cigarettes contain toxic substances and nanoparticles that ...

0 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.