Ovine prenatal growth-restriction and sex influence fetal adipose tissue phenotype and impact postnatal lipid metabolism and adiposity in vivo from birth until adulthood

Jacqueline M Wallace* (Corresponding Author), John S Milne, Beth W Aitken, Raymond P Aitken, Clare L Adam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Adipose tissue development begins in utero and is a key target of developmental programming. Here the influence of nutritionally-mediated prenatal growth-restriction on perirenal adipose tissue (PAT) gene expression and adipocyte phenotype in late fetal life was investigated in both sexes in an ovine model. Likewise circulating leptin concentrations and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and glycerol responses to glucose challenge were determined in relation to offspring adiposity at key stages from birth to mid-adult life. In both studies' singleton-bearing adolescent sheep were fed control or high nutrient intakes to induce normal or growth-restricted pregnancies, respectively. Fetal growth-restriction at day 130 of gestation (32% lighter) was characterised by greater body-weight-specific PAT mass and higher PAT expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARɤ), glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor, and uncoupling protein 1. Independent of prenatal growth, females had a greater body-weight-specific PAT mass, more multilocular adipocytes, higher leptin and lower insulin-like growth factor 1 mRNA than males. Growth-restricted offspring of both sexes (42% lighter at birth) were characterised by higher plasma NEFA concentrations across the life-course (post-fasting and after glucose challenge at 7, 32, 60, 85 and 106 weeks of age) consistent with reduced adipose tissue insulin sensitivity. Circulating plasma leptin correlated with body fat percentage (females>males) and restricted compared with normal females had more body fat and increased abundance of PPARɤ, HSL, leptin and adiponectin mRNA in PAT at necropsy (109 weeks). Therefore, prenatal nutrient supply and sex both influence adipose tissue development with consequences for lipid metabolism and body composition persisting throughout the life-course.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228732
Number of pages27
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) including the Strategic Partnership for Animal Science. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.




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