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Sci Transl Med. 2013 Aug 21;5(199):199ra112. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006505.

Improved rodent maternal metabolism but reduced intrauterine growth after vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

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Metabolic Diseases Institute, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45237, USA.


Obesity has profound negative consequences on female reproduction as well as on the metabolic health of offspring. Bariatric surgery is the most effective method for sustained weight loss. A critical question is whether bariatric surgery can reverse the deleterious effects of obesity on both female reproduction and subsequent offspring. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is a bariatric procedure rapidly growing in popularity because it provides weight loss and other metabolic benefits that are comparable to those offered by the more complicated Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Female rats rendered obese on a high-fat diet (HFD) underwent either VSG or sham surgery. Like their male counterparts, females had significant metabolic improvements including reduced adiposity and improved glucose tolerance. After VSG, female rats showed a more normal reproductive cycle. Despite these maternal benefits, the offspring of dams receiving VSG were born smaller and lighter than offspring of control dams that underwent sham surgery. When maintained on an HFD after puberty, these adult offspring had a greater propensity to develop glucose intolerance and increased adiposity than the offspring of lean mothers or obese mothers who underwent sham surgery. These data suggest that weight loss alone by obese mothers is not sufficient to reverse the deleterious effects of an HFD and obesity on their offspring.

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