Maternal high-fat diet (HFD) consumption during pregnancy decreased fetal body weight and impacted development of hypothalamic melanocortin neural circuitry in nonhuman primate offspring. We investigated whether these impairments during gestation persisted in juvenile offspring and examined the interaction between maternal and early postnatal HFD consumption. Adult dams consumed either a control diet (CTR, 15% calories from fat) or a high saturated-fat diet (HFD, 37% calories from fat) during pregnancy. Offspring were weaned onto a CTR or HFD at approximately 8 months of age. Offspring from HFD-fed dams displayed early catch-up growth and elevated body weight at 6 and 13 months of age. Maternal and postnatal HFD exposure reduced the amount of agouti-related peptide fibers in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. Postnatal HFD consumption also decreased the amount of agouti-related peptide fibers in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Postnatal HFD was associated with decreased food intake and increased activity. These results support and extend our previous findings of maternal diet effects on fetal development and reveal, for the first time in a nonhuman primate model, that maternal HFD-induced disturbances in offspring body weight regulation extended past gestation into the juvenile period. Maternal HFD consumption increases the risk for offspring developing obesity, with the developmental timing of HFD exposure differentially impacting the melanocortin system and energy balance regulation. The present findings provide translational insight into human clinical populations, suggesting that profound health consequences may await individuals later in life following intrauterine and postnatal HFD exposure.
- childhood obesity
- perinatal diet
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology