Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. , 2023, Mar 1;324(3):C644-C657. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00380.2021.

Early-life dietary exposures mediate persistent shifts in the gut microbiome and visceral fat metabolism.

Newman TM Clear KYJ Wilson AS et al.


In utero dietary exposures are linked to the development of metabolic syndrome in adult offspring. These dietary exposures can potentially impact gut microbial composition and offspring metabolic health. Female BALB/c mice were administered a lard, lard + flaxseed oil, high sugar, or control diet 4 wk before mating, throughout mating, pregnancy, and lactation. Female offspring were offered low-fat control diet at weaning. Fecal 16S sequencing was performed. Untargeted metabolomics was performed on visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of adult female offspring. Immunohistochemistry was used to determine adipocyte size, VAT collagen deposition, and macrophage content. Hippurate was administered via weekly intraperitoneal injections to low-fat and high-fat diet-fed female mice and VAT fibrosis and collagen 1A (COL1A) were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Lard diet exposure was associated with elevated body and VAT weight and dysregulated glucose metabolism. Lard + flaxseed oil attenuated these effects. Lard diet exposures were associated with increased adipocyte diameter and VAT macrophage count. Lard + flaxseed oil reduced adipocyte diameter and fibrosis compared with the lard diet. Hippurate-associated bacteria were influenced by lard versus lard + flax exposures that persisted to adulthood. VAT hippurate was increased in lard + flaxseed oil compared with lard diet. Hippurate supplementation mitigated VAT fibrosis pathology. Maternal high-fat lard diet consumption resulted in long-term metabolic and gut microbiome programming in offspring, impacting VAT inflammation and fibrosis, and was associated with reduced VAT hippurate content. These traits were not observed in maternal high-fat lard + flaxseed oil diet-exposed offspring. Hippurate supplementation reduced VAT fibrosis. These data suggest that detrimental effects of early-life high-fat lard diet exposure can be attenuated by dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation.

Link to Full Text