Mom’s high fat diet during pregnancy may affect immune system of child.

pregAnother study has demonstrated the impact of a high fat diet on the future generation. A new study by OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital has revealed that obesity and a high fat diet during pregnancy affects the immune system of the resulting child.

“Our results offer a model for testing whether the effects of a high-fat diet and obesity can be repaired through dietary intervention, a key question when extrapolating this data to human populations,” said Daniel L. Marks, M.D., Ph.D., co-investigator and professor of pediatric endocrinology in the OHSU School of Medicine and Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

A mouse model was developed that closely mimics the high fat and high sugar diet consumed by many expecting moms and it was demonstrated that maternal overnutrition in mice significantly reduced the size of the fetal liver.

The researchers used the information obtained from the mouse model to partner with a stem cell experty, Peter Kurre, M.D., co-investigator on the current study and professor of pediatric oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine and the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

It was discovered that complex changes occur as a result of a maternal high fat diet and obesity which puts significant constraints on the growth and expansion of blood stem cells in the fetal liver, which ultimately compromises the developing immune system.

“In light of the spreading western-style, high-fat diet and accompanying obesity epidemic, this study highlights the need to better understand the previous unrecognized susceptibility of the stem and progenitor cell system,” Kurre said. “These findings may provide broad context for the rise in immune disease and allergic disposition in children.”


Ashley N. Kamimae-Lanning, Stephanie M. Krasnow, Natalya A. Goloviznina, Xinxia Zhu, Quinn R. Roth-Carter, Peter R. Levasseur, Sophia Jeng, Shannon K. McWeeney, Peter Kurre, Daniel L. Marks. Maternal high-fat diet and obesity compromise fetal hematopoiesis. Molecular Metabolism, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.molmet.2014.11.001

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