The website for professionals in Laboratory Medicine

Obesity in pregnancy and risk of cardiovascular disease in offspring

Maternal obesity impairs heart health and function of the fetus according to a new study in mice.

The study, published in The Journal of Physiology, found that maternal obesity causes molecular changes in the heart of the fetus and alters expression of genes related to nutrient metabolism, which greatly increases an offspring’s risk of cardiac problems in later life.

                This is the first study to show that the heart is ‘programmed’ by the nutrients it receives in fetal life. Changes in the expression of genes alter how the heart normally metabolises carbohydrates and fats. They shift the heart’s nutrient preference further toward fat and away from sugar. As a result, the hearts of fetuses of obese female mice were larger, weighed more, had thicker walls and showed signs of inflammation. This impairs how efficiently the heart contracts and pumps blood around the body.

                The researchers from University of Colorado, USA, used a mouse model that replicates human maternal physiology and placental nutrient transport in obese women. Female mice (n=31) were fed a diet with a high fat content together with a sugary drink, which is equivalent to a human regularly consuming a burger, chips and a fizzy drink (1500 kcal). The female mice ate this diet until they developed obesity, putting on about 25% of their original body weight. 50 female mice were fed a control diet.

                Mice have shorter pregnancies, more offspring and different diets to humans so further studies in human volunteers would be required to extrapolate the findings to women’s health. Loss-of-function studies also need to be carried out to prove this mechanism linking maternal obesity and offspring heart function and pinpoint the exact molecules responsible.

Upcoming Events

Haemovigilance Past, Present and Future

Regency Suite, Brighton Hilton Metropole
6–8 July

BSMT - The Genomic and Microbiology Revolution: In Technology We Trust?

Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, London
19 July 2022

Arab Lab Live 2022

Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre Dubai World Trade Centre - Trade Centre - Trade Centre 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
24 - 26 October 2022

Lab Innovations 2022

Hall 2 NEC, Birmingham
2 & 3 November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Messe Düsseldorf D-40474 Düsseldorf, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61
14 - 17 November 2022

Access the latest issue of Pathology In Practice on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Pathology In Practice app from your device's App store

Upcoming Events

Haemovigilance Past, Present and Future

Regency Suite, Brighton Hilton Metropole
6–8 July

BSMT - The Genomic and Microbiology Revolution: In Technology We Trust?

Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, London
19 July 2022

Arab Lab Live 2022

Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre Dubai World Trade Centre - Trade Centre - Trade Centre 2 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
24 - 26 October 2022

Lab Innovations 2022

Hall 2 NEC, Birmingham
2 & 3 November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Messe Düsseldorf D-40474 Düsseldorf, Stockumer Kirchstraße 61
14 - 17 November 2022

Access the latest issue of Pathology In Practice on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Pathology In Practice app from your device's App store

Step Communications Ltd, Step House, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3DR
Tel: 01892 779999 Fax: 01892 616177
www.step-communications.com
© 2022 Step Communications Ltd. Registered in England. Registration Number 3893025