Send to

Choose Destination
Endocrinology. 2012 Dec;153(12):5961-71. doi: 10.1210/en.2012-1508. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

The programming of cardiac hypertrophy in the offspring by maternal obesity is associated with hyperinsulinemia, AKT, ERK, and mTOR activation.

Author information

Metabolic Research Laboratories, University of Cambridge, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, U.K.


Human and animal studies suggest that suboptimal early nutrition during critical developmental periods impacts long-term health. For example, maternal overnutrition during pregnancy and lactation in mice programs insulin resistance, obesity, and endothelial dysfunction in the offspring. Here we investigated the effects of diet-induced maternal obesity on the offspring cardiac phenotype and explored potential underlying molecular mechanisms. Dams fed the obesogenic diet were heavier (P < 0.01) and fatter (P < 0.0001) than controls throughout pregnancy and lactation. There was no effect of maternal obesity on offspring body weight or body composition up to 8 wk of age. However, maternal obesity resulted in increased offspring cardiac mass (P < 0.05), increased heart-body weight (P < 0.01), heart weight-tibia length (P < 0.05), increased left ventricular free wall thickness and area (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively), and increased myocyte width (P < 0.001). Consistent with these structural changes, the expression of molecular markers of cardiac hypertrophy were also increased [Nppb(BNP), Myh7-Myh6(βMHC-αMHC) (both P < 0.05) and mir-133a (P < 0.01)]. Offspring were hyperinsulinemic and displayed increased insulin action through AKT (P < 0.01), ERK (P < 0.05), and mammalian target of rapamycin (P < 0.05). p38MAPK phosphorylation was also increased (P < 0.05), suggesting pathological remodeling. Increased Ncf2(p67(phox)) expression (P < 0.05) and impaired manganese superoxide dismutase levels (P < 0.01) suggested oxidative stress, which was consistent with an increase in levels of 4-hydroxy-2-trans-nonenal (a measure of lipid peroxidation). We propose that maternal diet-induced obesity leads to offspring cardiac hypertrophy, which is independent of offspring obesity but is associated with hyperinsulinemia-induced activation of AKT, mammalian target of rapamycin, ERK, and oxidative stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center