Obesity involving women of reproductive years is increasing dramatically in both developing and developed nations. Maternal obesity and accompanying high energy obesogenic dietary (MO) intake prior to and throughout pregnancy and lactation program offspring physiological systems predisposing to altered carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Whether maternal obesity-induced programming outcomes are reversible by altered dietary intake commencing before conception remains an unanswered question of physiological and clinical importance. We induced pre-pregnancy maternal obesity by feeding female rats with a high fat diet from weaning to breeding 90 days later and through pregnancy and lactation. A dietary intervention group (DINT) of MO females was transferred to normal chow 1 month before mating. Controls received normal chow throughout. Male offspring were studied. Offspring birth weights were similar. At postnatal day 21 fat mass, serum triglycerides, leptin and insulin were elevated in MO offspring and were normalized by DINT. At postnatal day 120 serum glucose, insulin and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) were increased in MO offspring; glucose was restored, and HOMA partially reversed to normal by DINT. At postnatal day 150 fat mass was increased in MO and partially reversed in DINT. At postnatal day 150, fat cell size was increased by MO. DINT partially reversed these differences in fat cell size. We believe this is the first study showing reversibility of adverse metabolic effects of maternal obesity on offspring metabolic phenotype, and that outcomes and reversibility vary by tissue affected.
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