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Overfeeding during pregnancy causes cardiometabolic alterations in offspring

18 March 2022
  • A study led by Dr. Abel López-Bermejo confirms this fact in a porcine animal model.
  • The work also suggests that these alterations can be reversed by treatment with metformin in piglets.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can lead to metabolic alterations in the fetus, as well as increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases in adulthood such as obesity, diabetes, heart attack or stroke. However, early treatment in the child could prevent these complications.

A study led by Dr. Abel López-Bermejo, head of the Paediatric obesity and cardiovascular risk group at IDIBGI, has analyzed the effect of overfeeding during pregnancy in their children using a porcine animal model. The model also allowed the application of a treatment with metformin, an antidiabetic drug, in piglets as a possible method to reverse these alterations.

The results showed that piglets born to sows overfed during gestation had a worse cardiometabolic profile compared to those born to sows fed a normal diet. Treatment with metformin improved this unfavorable profile.

In addition, the work also studied methylation in the adipose tissue of these piglets. Thus, a deregulation of the genes SLC5A10, INSIG1, and CDK2AP1, related to the transport of sugars, the regulation of fats such as cholesterol, and the suppression of cell growth, respectively, was observed.

These results reaffirm that overfeeding during pregnancy causes an unfavorable metabolic profile and DNA methylation changes in offspring, which can be ameliorated by metformin treatment.

The study was carried out thanks to the collaboration between the Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk in Pediatrics group at IDIBGI, the Animal Welfare group at IRTA and the Selecció Batallé group.

Reference article:

DOI: 10.1038/s41366-022-01076-5


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