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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34835. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034835. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Intrauterine growth retardation increases the susceptibility of pigs to high-fat diet-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, Sichuan, People's Republic of China.


It has been recognized that there is a relationship between prenatal growth restriction and the development of metabolic-related diseases in later life, a process involved in mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) increases the susceptibility of offspring to high-fat (HF) diet-induced metabolic syndrome. Recent findings suggested that HF feeding decreased mitochondrial oxidative capacity and impaired mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle. Therefore, we hypothesized that the long-term consequences of IUGR on mitochondrial biogenesis and function make the offspring more susceptible to HF diet-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Normal birth weight (NBW), and IUGR pigs were allotted to control or HF diet in a completely randomized design, individually. After 4 weeks of feeding, growth performance and molecular pathways related to mitochondrial function were determined. The results showed that IUGR decreased growth performance and plasma insulin concentrations. In offspring fed a HF diet, IUGR was associated with enhanced plasma leptin levels, increased concentrations of triglyceride and malondialdehyde (MDA), and reduced glycogen and ATP contents in skeletal muscle. High fat diet-fed IUGR offspring exhibited decreased activities of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). These alterations in metabolic traits of IUGR pigs were accompanied by impaired mitochondrial respiration function, reduced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) contents, and down-regulated mRNA expression levels of genes responsible for mitochondrial biogenesis and function. In conclusion, our results suggest that IUGR make the offspring more susceptible to HF diet-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.

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