Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How genes link mom's diet to risk of obesity in her offspring

Date:
September 2, 2014
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Scientists using an animal model found an epigenetic link between a mother's diet and an offspring's risk of future obesity. This link hinges on the blocked expression of a gene called Pomc, which manages a discrete area of the brain that controls feeding behavior.

Many research studies have made it clear that a mother's eating habits prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and during lactation have a profound impact on her offspring and their propensity for developing weight problems, including obesity. However, until now, the mechanisms behind this phenomenon were unclear. According to new research published in the September 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists using an animal model found an epigenetic link between a mother's diet and an offspring's risk of future obesity. This link hinges on the blocked expression of a gene called Pomc, which manages a discrete area of the brain that controls feeding behavior. Excess methylation on the DNA sequence blocks the ability to express this gene, leading to a late satiety response, increased food intake and eventually to obesity.

Related Articles


"Parental obesity and diet can affect the children's likelihood to overeat and develop obesity. Changes in epigenetic programming have been implicated as one of the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon," said Asaf Marco, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel. "We observed a clear correspondence between a specific epigenetic mechanism and weight gain, potentially allowing for early detection and prevention of obesity."

To make this discovery, Marco and colleagues fed female rats either a high-fat diet or a standard diet from post-weaning to adulthood and in separate groups, throughout pregnancy and lactation. All offspring, including those of the high-fat treated rats, received standard food after weaning until adulthood. Blood was analyzed for hormone levels and brain sections for epigenetic modification on the specific DNA sequence of interest. Results showed that unmated female rats, chronically fed a high-fat diet, presented obesity associated with disruptions in an epigenetic mechanism that controls the production of Pomc. However, due to the sharp weight loss during lactation, rats who consumed a high-fat diet presented normal weight and a normalized epigenetic mechanism. Because methylation on the genes is typically considered stable and relatively permanent, this opens the door for future drug development. Researchers found that epigenetic malprogramming induced by maternal high-fat diet had a long-term effect on the offspring's vulnerability to develop obesity. These effects were not reprogrammed by providing standard food to the pups after weaning and the offspring maintained their obesogenic phenotype until adulthood.

"Shining light on heritable, epigenetic factors that cause obesity should help us shed unwanted pounds in future generations," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "This research shows that being overweight and obese has a direct impact on the genes we use to signal when it's time to stop eating."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Marco, T. Kisliouk, T. Tabachnik, N. Meiri, A. Weller. Overweight and CpG methylation of the Pomc promoter in offspring of high-fat-diet-fed dams are not "reprogrammed" by regular chow diet in rats. The FASEB Journal, 2014; 28 (9): 4148 DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-255620

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "How genes link mom's diet to risk of obesity in her offspring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151218.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2014, September 2). How genes link mom's diet to risk of obesity in her offspring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151218.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "How genes link mom's diet to risk of obesity in her offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902151218.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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