The aim of this research was to analyze the influence of the maternal dietary intake before pregnancy, as well as the parental impact on the response to a transgenerational high-fat-diet in rats.
Ten female Wistar rats were fed a standard or a high-fat-sucrose (HFS) diet in the 8 weeks prior to pregnancy. Adult offsprings were assigned to a control or obesogenic diet for 8 weeks. Then, rat tissues and plasma samples were collected for analyzing tissue weight, liver triglycerides, and biochemical parameters such as triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, glucose, and insulin levels.
The offspring of rats fed a HFS diet gained less weight when they were fed the same diet than those fed a HFS diet combined with maternal control diet. Insulin levels were higher in rats fed a HFS diet (p<0.05) in both sexes; however, maternal HFS diet reversed, partially in males and total- ly in females, this hormonal imbalance. In male newborns, diet-induced maternal weight gain before pregnancy significantly influenced visceral (R 2 =0.373) and subcutaneous (R 2 =0.239) adipose deposition as well as liver weight (R 2 =0.130). Paternal genetic make-up was also a relevant factor affecting adiposity in both sexes (R 2 =0.333 in visceral fat; R 2 =0.183 in subcutaneous fat in males, and 0.292 and 0.282, respectively in females) as well as plasma triglycerides (R 2 =0.193 in males and R 2 =0.251 in females).
The genetic parental background and pre-natal maternal diet are important factors in the response to a hypercaloric diet and affect body composition and glucose homeostasis traits, including insulin secretion and homeostatic model assessment index.