Introduction: An upward trend in maternal obesity is rising every year. Different data suggest that maternal obesity during gestation may have effects on a high risk of children of developing physiological and psychological dysfunctions in later life. Animal models suggest that a maternal high fat diet (HFD) during pregnancy could have enduring consequences on brain structure and development in the offspring. Our aim is to evaluate the effects of maternal HFD on both offspring brain development and neural stems cells (NSCs).
Methods: Female mice were fed different diets from conception: chow diet (CD), HFD throughout gestation and lactation (HFD) or embryonic HFD (Emb-HFD: HFD for 3.5 days, CD thereafter). After weaning, the offspring were maintained on CD. 5 male brains and 6 female brains were collected per group and analysed by immunostaining.
Results and Discussion: We showed an increase in cortical layer thickness (layer 2/3 P=0.0461 layer 6 P=0.0023) increase in total cortical cell density (layer 2/3 P=0.0087 layer 5 P=0.0266 layer 6 P=0.0080) and reduction in neuronal proportion (layer 2/3 P=0.0601 layer 4 P=0.0025 layer 6 P=0.0039) in the HFD males compared with CD males. Similar results have been found in female offspring brains, with increase cell density (layer 4 P=0.0058, layer 5 P=0.0010) in the HFD females compared with CD females. Additionally, when NSCs were examined in the subventricular zone, Emb-HFD males showed increased neural stem cells compared to CD males (P<0.05). However, there was no significant difference in the density of astrocytes or microglia between male groups. Further work will determine the cells responsible for the increase cell density. Taken together, our data suggests that neurogenesis and brain morphology are altered following maternal HFD and this might result in long term changes in brain architecture. Further research will be important for a better understanding of the effect of maternal HFD on brain development.
11 Jul 2016 - 11 Jul 2016