Intergenerational impact of maternal overnutrition and obesity throughout pregnancy in sheep on metabolic syndrome in grandsons and granddaughters

C. L. Pankey, M. W. Walton, J. F. Odhiambo, A. M. Smith, A. B. Ghnenis, P. W. Nathanielsz, S. P. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We previously reported that maternal overnutrition and obesity (MO) throughout pregnancy and lactation in sheep (MOF0) decreases term fetal pancreatic β-cell numbers and increases perirenal adiposity producing hyperphagia, increased adiposity and insulin resistance in adult female offspring (MOF1) fed ad libitum. Pregnant female MOF1 exhibited increased blood glucose from mid to late gestation vs control F1 (CTRF1) though both groups ate only to NRC recommendations. MOF1 ewes delivered female offspring (F2) who like their MOF1 mothers exhibited increased abdominal adiposity and absent neonatal leptin surge. In the current work, we determined if adult MOF2 exhibited metabolic syndrome components when fed ad libitum. After weaning, MOF2 males (n = 5), MOF2 females (n = 6), CTRF2 males (n = 5), and CTRF2 females (n = 6) were fed to NRC requirements until 19 mo followed by 12-wk ad libitum feeding. Body weight and % fat increased (P < 0.01) in all F2 during this feeding trial. MOF2 males were heavier (P < 0.01) than CTRF2 males and females, and MOF2 females throughout the trial. By wk 8, baseline blood glucose concentrations increased (P < 0.001) in MOF2 females, but not other groups, remaining elevated throughout the trial. Baseline insulin was similar through wk 6, increasing (P < 0.05) at wk 8 in MOF2 females only. MOF2 female insulin returned to CTRF2 female levels during wk 10 and 12. The progressive increase of plasma glucose on wk 8 in association with increased insulin in MOF2 females but not other groups demonstrated a diet-induced increase (P < 0.001) in MOF2 female insulin resistance. The subsequent decline in insulin during wk 10 and 12 despite elevated glucose in MOF2 females is consistent with a decrease in glucose-stimulated pancreatic β-cell function. These data indicate that ad libitum feeding exceeds the pancreatic secretory response predisposing MOF2 females to hyperglycemia. Furthermore, there was a sex difference where MOF2 males increased body mass and MOF2 females displayed insulin/glucose dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortisol
  • Insulin resistance
  • Intergenerational
  • Maternal obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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