Early life environment influences the trajectory of post-partum weight loss in adult female rats

Catherine Aiken, J. L. Tarry-Adkins, T. J. Ashmore, S. E. Ozanne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research question: The physiological processes of pregnancy and lactation require profound changes in maternal metabolism and energy balance. The timescale of metabolic reversion after pregnancy, in particular post-partum weight loss, is highly variable between individuals. Currently, mechanisms influencing post-partum metabolic recovery are not well understood. The hypothesis tested here is that, in common with other metabolic and obesity-related outcomes, capacity for post-partum weight loss is influenced by developmental programming. Design: Adult female Wistar rats exposed to a maternal low-protein diet in utero then weaned onto a control diet post-natally (recuperated group) were compared with controls. Adult females from both groups underwent pregnancy at 3 months of age. Weight changes and metabolic parameters during pregnancy and lactation were compared between control and recuperated groups, and also with non-pregnant littermates. Results: Pregnancy weight gain was not different between the control and recuperated groups, but post-partum recuperated animals remained significantly heavier than both post-partum control animals (P<0.05) and their non-pregnant recuperated littermates (P<0.05) at the end of lactation. Post-partum recuperated animals had more intra-abdominal fat mass (P<0.05) and higher serum triglyceride concentrations (P<0.01) than controls. Post-partum recuperated animals also had increased expression of IL6, NRF2 and ALOX12 (key regulators of inflammation and lipoxygenase activity) in the intra-abdominal adipose tissue compared with control groups. Conclusions: Mothers who themselves have been exposed to adverse early life environments are likely to have slower metabolic recovery from pregnancy than controls. Failure to return to pre-pregnancy weight after delivery predisposes to persisting sequential inter-pregnancy weight gain, which can represent a significant metabolic burden across a life course involving several pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive biomedicine online
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Fingerprint

Weight Loss
Pregnancy
Lactation
Intra-Abdominal Fat
Control Groups
Weight Gain
Mothers
Physiological Phenomena
Weights and Measures
Protein-Restricted Diet
Lipoxygenase
Energy Metabolism
Wistar Rats
Interleukin-6
Triglycerides
Obesity
Diet
Inflammation
Serum
Research

Keywords

  • Adipose mass
  • Developmental programming
  • Inter-pregnancy weight gain
  • Metabolism
  • Post-partum weight
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this

Early life environment influences the trajectory of post-partum weight loss in adult female rats. / Aiken, Catherine; Tarry-Adkins, J. L.; Ashmore, T. J.; Ozanne, S. E.

In: Reproductive biomedicine online, Vol. 38, No. 5, 01.05.2019, p. 779-786.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Aiken, Catherine ; Tarry-Adkins, J. L. ; Ashmore, T. J. ; Ozanne, S. E. / Early life environment influences the trajectory of post-partum weight loss in adult female rats. In: Reproductive biomedicine online. 2019 ; Vol. 38, No. 5. pp. 779-786.
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