A high fat diet during pregnancy can lead to severe liver disease in offspring

October 13, 2009

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown link between a mother's diet in pregnancy and a severe form of liver disease in her child.

In a study, published in the journal Hepatology today, researchers at the University of Southampton found that a high fat diet during a woman's pregnancy makes her offspring more likely to develop a severe form of fatty liver disease when they reach adulthood. The findings are another piece in the jigsaw for scientists who believe diets containing too high levels of saturated fat may have an adverse effect on our health.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition associated with obesity and caused by the build up of fat in the liver. The condition advances in some people and it is important to understand the factors that contribute to disease progression. Until recently, NAFLD was considered rare and relatively harmless but now it is one of the most common forms of liver disease that may progress to cirrhosis a serious life threatening .

Professor Christopher Byrne, with colleagues Dr Felino Cagampang and Dr Kim Bruce, of the University's School of Medicine and researchers at King's College London, conducted the study, funded by the BBSRC. Prof Byrne explained: "This research shows that too much saturated fat in a mother's diet can affect the developing liver of a fetus, making it more susceptible to developing fatty liver disease later in life. An unhealthy saturated fat-enriched diet in the child and young adult compounds the problem further causing a severe form of the fatty liver disease later in adult life."

The next stage of this research, also funded by the BBSRC, will be to understand, more precisely, the reason why fatty liver disease develops and to intervene to prevent the occurring.

The University's School of Medicine has a worldwide reputation for its pioneering research into the relationship between mothers' diets in pregnancy and future health problems in their offspring.

More information: The paper is available on Hepatology's website by visiting: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/106570044/home . Ref: DOI 10.1002/hep.23205

Source: University of Southampton

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study seeks to aid diagnosis, management of catatonia

December 11, 2017
Catatonia, a syndrome of motor, emotional and behavioral abnormalities frequently characterized by muscular rigidity and a trance-like mental stupor and at times manifesting with great excitement or agitation, can occur during ...

New compound stops progressive kidney disease in its tracks

December 7, 2017
Progressive kidney diseases, whether caused by obesity, hypertension, diabetes, or rare genetic mutations, often have the same outcome: The cells responsible for filtering the blood are destroyed. Reporting today in Science, ...

New Lyme disease tests could offer quicker, more accurate detection

December 7, 2017
New tests to detect early Lyme disease - which is increasing beyond the summer months -could replace existing tests that often do not clearly identify the infection before health problems occur.

Spinal tap needle type impacts the risk of complications

December 6, 2017
The type of needle used during a lumbar puncture makes a significant difference in the subsequent occurrence of headache, nerve irritation and hearing disturbance in patients, according to a study by Hamilton medical researchers.

Men with HPV are 20 times more likely to be reinfected after one year

December 5, 2017
A new analysis of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) in men shows that infection with one HPV type strongly increases the risk of reinfection with the same type. In fact, men who are infected with the type responsible for ...

New tuberculosis drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic

December 5, 2017
Tuberculosis, and other life-threatening microbial diseases, could be more effectively tackled with future drugs, thanks to new research into an old antibiotic by the University of Warwick and The Francis Crick Institute.

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.