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Effects of maternal diet-induced obesity on metabolic disorders and age-associated miRNA expression in the liver of male mouse offspring.

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Mennitti, Laís Vales 
Carpenter, Asha AM 
Loche, Elena 
Pantaleão, Lucas C 
Fernandez-Twinn, Denise S  ORCID logo


OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the effect of maternal obesity on aged-male offspring liver phenotype and hepatic expression of a programmed miRNA. METHODS: A mouse model (C57BL/6 J) of maternal diet-induced obesity was used to investigate fasting-serum metabolites, hepatic lipid content, steatosis, and relative mRNA levels (RT-PCR) and protein expression (Western blotting) of key components involved in hepatic and mitochondrial metabolism in 12-month-old offspring. We also measured hepatic lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial content, fibrosis stage, and apoptosis in the offspring. To investigate potential mechanisms leading to the observed phenotype, we also measured the expression of miR-582 (a miRNA previously implicated in liver cirrhosis) in 8-week-old and 12-month-old offspring. RESULTS: Body weight and composition was similar between 8-week-old offspring, however, 12-month-old offspring from obese mothers had increased body weight and fat mass (19.5 ± 0.8 g versus 10.4 ± 0.9 g, p < 0.001), as well as elevated serum levels of LDL and leptin and hepatic lipid content (21.4 ± 2.1 g versus 12.9 ± 1.8 g, p < 0.01). This was accompanied by steatosis, increased Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, and overexpression of p-SAPK/JNK, Tgfβ1, Map3k14, and Col1a1 in the liver. Decreased levels of Bcl-2, p-AMPKα, total AMPKα and mitochondrial complexes were also observed. Maternal obesity was associated with increased hepatic miR-582-3p (p < 0.001) and miR-582-5p (p < 0.05). Age was also associated with an increase in both miR-582-3p and miR-582-5p, however, this was more pronounced in the offspring of obese dams, such that differences were greater in 12-month-old animals (-3p: 7.34 ± 1.35 versus 1.39 ± 0.50, p < 0.0001 and -5p: 4.66 ± 1.16 versus 1.63 ± 0.65, p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate that maternal diet-induced obesity has detrimental effects on offspring body composition as well as hepatic phenotype that may be indicative of accelerated-ageing phenotype. These whole-body and cellular phenotypes were associated with age-dependent changes in expression of miRNA-582 that might contribute mechanistically to the development of metabolic disorders in the older progeny.



Age Factors, Animals, Disease Models, Animal, Feeding Behavior, Female, Gene Expression, Liver, Maternal Exposure, Metabolic Diseases, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Obesity, RNA, Messenger

Journal Title

Int J Obes (Lond)

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12012/4)
British Heart Foundation (RG/17/12/33167)
MRC (MC_UU_00014/4)
MRC (MC_UU_00014/5)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_12012)