Eating healthy and nutritious food keeps us healthy. However, sedentary lifestyle and switching to processed and fast foods have made obesity a popularized condition. A current mouse study, lead by Kelle H. Moley, published online in the journal Cell Reports has come up with a novel finding that a mother’s obesity leads to later obesity and other metabolic abnormalities in upcoming generations. Women following a Western diet develop metabolic and genetic abnormalities even before pregnancy which are subsequently forwarded to future generations, thereby making them prone to obesity-related conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
This finding is pertinent since more than two-thirds of reproductive-age women in the US are obese. In the study, mice were fed a diet consisting of 60% fat and 20% sugar, nearly similar to the Western diet, right from six weeks before conception until weaning. The upcoming offsprings were then fed a diet containing high-protein, low-fat and low-sugar. Upto third descendents, the offsprings developed insulin resistance and other metabolic problems regardless of healthy diet.
Authors also found abnormal mitochondria in muscle and skeletal tissue of the progeny mice showing that mother’s obesity and associated metabolic abnormalities are inherited by transmitting dysfunctional genes of mitochondria in the unfertilized egg through the female bloodline. The mitochondrial DNA holds its own set of genes and is inherited only from mothers, not fathers. Additionally, oocytes also hoist information to program mitochondrial dysfunction throughout the body. Human offsprings are more susceptible to the effects of maternal metabolic syndrome since children follow the diets of parents