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Metabolic adaptations to early life protein restriction differ by offspring sex and post-weaning diet in the mouse.


ABSTRACT: Low birth weight affects 1 in every 7 babies born globally and can predict a lifetime of increased risk for adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Maternal low protein diet during pregnancy and lactation is a well-characterized rat model for low birth weight and the subsequent increase in chronic disease risk. However, mice have been relatively understudied in this paradigm and represent a critical resource for investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms that link adverse early life experience and the development of chronic disease.The present manuscript describes a mouse model of low birth weight (maternal consumption of low protein diet (8% protein) through pregnancy and lactation) and characterizes metabolic adaptations (food intake, locomotor activity, oxygen consumption, and glucose tolerance) in male and female offspring. At weaning, mice were maintained either on the control diet or a high fat diet. Notable sex differences were observed, with male mice from the low protein pregnancies showing increased food intake, hyperactivity and increased metabolic rate only when weaned to the high fat diet, while female mice consistently showed increased food intake and were hypometabolic, regardless of post-weaning diet.These data identify offspring sex and post-weaning diet as critical variables in the metabolic adaptations to early life protein deficiency, and suggest that females may be more vulnerable to the adverse long-term health consequences of low birth weight.

SUBMITTER: Whitaker KW 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3183163 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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