Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lambs provide crucial link in understanding obesity

Date:
April 4, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
The question of whether children born to obese mothers will become obese themselves is one step closer to being answered as a result of new research which studied lambs born to overweight sheep.

The question of whether children born to obese mothers will become obese themselves is one step closer to being answered as a result of new research which studied lambs born to overweight sheep.

The research, published in The Journal of Physiology, shows a definite link between maternal and offspring obesity and is the first demonstration that this is the case in mammals which bear 'mature offspring' -- as humans do.

Professor Peter Nathanielsz, lead author of the research, said: "A relationship between maternal obesity and offspring obesity has been clearly identified in rodents but as their young are born immature, it was not clear whether the findings would apply to humans.

"Lambs offer a more similar model to understand the mechanism of human obesity as they are born at a more advanced level of maturity -- equivalent to humans."

For 60 days before conception and throughout their pregnancy Nathanielsz and his team at the Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research, University of Texas and the University of Wyoming, fed sheep either a normal diet or one that produces obesity. The appetite and weight gain of their offspring were then monitored for a further 19 months.

By taking frequent blood samples from the newborn lambs, the team were able to monitor levels of hormones that are known to affect developmental programming -- in particular the hormone leptin. Leptin is produced by adipose fat cells and regulates appetite. In lambs born of normal weight mothers, there was a peak in leptin in the sixth to ninth days of life but this peak did not occur in lambs born to obese ewes.

"The neonatal peak in leptin plays a central role in the development of areas of the brain that regulate appetite. We have found that an absence of this peak in lambs born to obese mothers seems to predispose them to increased appetite and obesity in later life."

Blood samples taken from one day old lambs also found that cortisol levels were up to 50% higher in obese sheep, leading the team to suspect that exposure to higher levels of cortisol in the womb may prevent the normal leptin rise in lambs of obese mothers.

"We propose that cortisol prepares fetal adipose tissue to secrete leptin -- and that this process seems to be disrupted in lambs born to obese mothers. The nutrient excess present in the blood of obese mothers throughout gestation seems to inhibit the post-natal leptin peak -- which likely has important consequences for the development of the lamb."

"Given the epidemic of obesity both in the developed and developing world, the search for environmental factors occurring around the time of birth which predispose offspring of overweight mothers to lifelong obesity is important.

"Seeing these hormonal change in lambs, in addition to what we have already found with rodents, is advancing our understanding of what programmes appetite. We are getting closer to understanding what causes obesity in humans." concluded Nathanielsz.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. M. Long, S. P. Ford, P. W. Nathanielsz. Maternal obesity eliminates the neonatal lamb plasma leptin peak. The Journal of Physiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.201681

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Lambs provide crucial link in understanding obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315093039.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, April 4). Lambs provide crucial link in understanding obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315093039.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Lambs provide crucial link in understanding obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315093039.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is being given the same experimental drug used on two US missionaries who have recovered for the disease, doctors in London say. Duration: 00:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins