Food and Behaviour Research

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A systematic review on animal models of maternal high fat feeding and offspring glycaemic control

Ainge H, Thompson C, Ozanne SE, Rooney KB. (2011) Int J Obes (Lond).  35(3): 325-35. Epub 2010 Aug 3. 

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The mechanistic link between obese parents and obese offspring and the relative role of genes, and a shared environment is not completely understood. Animal models help us to differentiate between genetic and environmental factors, and the interaction between the two. However, the willingness of researchers to blend results from multiple models makes it difficult for clear mechanisms to be identified for specific hypothesis-driven research.

As such we conducted a systematic review of animal models of maternal high fat feeding in an effort to identify the affect on the offspring glycaemic control. Maternal and offspring outcomes are reported in an effort to identify possible relationships to facilitate and focus on future research.

We present here data from 11 studies investigating glycaemic control in offspring exposed to a high fat diet (HFD) during maternal gestation only or gestation and lactation.

Studies in this review identify a real risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity in male offspring exposed to a maternal HFD. Poor glycaemic control in the offspring appears to be independent of maternal obesity, birth weight or post-weaning macronutrient intake. Inconsistencies between studies however, limit our capacity to identify mechanisms for the developmental origin of these diseases in animal models of overnutrition.