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Pharm & NS



Maternal Consumption of a Western Diet Promotes Obesity and Hypertension in Offspring

Photo of Dr. Kevin J. Pearson, assistant professor, Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences Kevin J. Pearson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, College of Medicine

The intrauterine environment affects the development of the growing embryo and fetus. An unsuitable, unhealthy environment can lead to termination of pregnancy, but more subtle dietary factors (maternal diet high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt—a typical western diet) can influence long-term health in the offspring. Fetal programming is likely contributing to the alarming spike in obesity and hypertension during adulthood. The overall goal of this project is to define the mechanism(s) by which maternal diet influences offspring obesity and hypertension development in mice. The hypothesis is maternal consumption of a western diet during pregnancy and nursing will promote obesity and hypertension in offspring through activation of the renin-angiotensinsystem, and maternal consumption of resveratrol (a compound found in red wine) will block the negative effects. The goal of Aim 1 is to determine whether long-term (obesity-related effects) or short-term (nutritional effects) western diet consumption is critically important for late-life hypertension development in the offspring. The goal of Aim 2 is to elucidate the role of the renin-angiotensin system in late-life hypertension development in the offspring of western diet fed dams. Aim 3 will determine if resveratrol can reverse the negative effects on offspring health caused by maternal consumption of a western diet during pregnancy and nursing. These studies will provide new information on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Hypothesis. This research is important because obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are at epidemic levels, and interventions targeting gestation might be an efficient way to stem the tide.



Photo of Dr. Andrew Morris, professor, Internal Medicine, Division of CardiologyAndrew Morris, Ph.D.
Division of Cardiology
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine





Photo of Dr. Deneys van der Westhuyzen, professor, Internal Medicine, Division of EndocrinologyDeneys van der Westhuyzen, Ph.D.
Division of Endocrinology
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine

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