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Ann Nutr Metab. 2011;58 Suppl 2:18-28. doi: 10.1159/000328040. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Metabolic programming in the immediate postnatal life.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA. mspatel@buffalo.edu

Abstract

The metabolic programming effects of nutritional modifications in the immediate postnatal life are increasingly recognized to independently contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome in later life. Adjustment of litter size in rodents has been used to induce either under- or overnourishment in the immediate postnatal life of the offspring. While undernourishment led to growth retardation in the offspring, overnourishment produced increased body weight gains, hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia. Overnourishment during the suckling period induced several adaptations in the energy circuitry in the hypothalamus of the offspring predisposing them for the onset of obesity later in life. Another approach for a nutritional modification in the immediate postnatal period is the artificial rearing of newborn rat pups on a high-carbohydrate (HC) milk formula without changes in the total calorie availability. Hyperinsulinemia, immediately evident in the HC pups, persisted in the post-weaning period even after withdrawal of the HC milk. Significant alterations in pancreatic islets supported chronic hyperinsulinemia in the HC rats. Alterations in the gene expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides predisposing to hyperphagia were evident during the period of the HC dietary modification. The persistence of these hypothalamic adaptations supported the obese phenotype in adult HC rats. A transgenerational effect gave rise to the development of chronic hyperinsulinemia and adult-onset obesity in the offspring of the HC female rats. Other studies have shown that lactation by a diabetic, obese or malnourished mother resulted in predisposition for the onset of metabolic disorders in the offspring. These observations from animal studies on the metabolic programming effects due to altered nutritional experiences in the immediate postnatal life strongly suggest that altered feeding practices for infants (formula feeding and early introduction of infant foods) could contribute to the rising incidence of overweight/obesity in children and adults.

PMID:
21846978
PMCID:
PMC3190171
DOI:
10.1159/000328040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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