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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Apr;40(4):424-31. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0480. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

A gestational diet high in fat-soluble vitamins alters expression of genes in brain pathways and reduces sucrose preference, but not food intake, in Wistar male rat offspring.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E2, Canada.


High intakes of multivitamins (HV) during pregnancy by Wistar rats increase food intake, body weight, and characteristics of the metabolic syndrome in male offspring. In this study, high-fat soluble vitamins were fed in combination during gestation to test the hypothesis that they partially account for the effects of the HV diet. Pregnant Wistar rats (14-16/group) were fed a recommended multivitamin diet (1-fold all vitamins) or high-fat soluble vitamin diet (HFS; 10-fold vitamins A, D, E, and K) during pregnancy. Offspring body weight, food intake, and preference as well as expression of selected genes in the hypothalamus and hippocampus were evaluated at birth, weaning, and 14 weeks postweaning. Body weight and food intake were not affected but sucrose preference decreased by 4% in those born to dams fed the HFS gestational diet. Gene expressions of the hypothalamic anorexogenic pro-opiomelanocortin (Pomc) and orexogenic neuropeptide Y (Npy) (∼30% p = 0.008, ∼40% p = 0.007) were increased in weaning and adult rats, respectively. Hippocampal dopaminergic genes (35%-50% p < 0.05) were upregulated at birth and 14 weeks postweaning. DNA hypermethylation (2% p = 0.006) was observed in the dopamine receptor 1 (Drd1) promoter region. We conclude that a gestational diet high in vitamins A, D, E, and K does not show the effects of the HV diet on body weight or food intake but may affect the development of higher hedonic regulatory pathways associated with food preference.


development; dopamine; développement; epigenetics; hippocampe; hippocampus; hypothalamus; neuropeptide; reward; récompense; épigénétique

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