Early Programming of Obesity Throughout the Life Course: A Metabolomics Perspective

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Abstract

Background: Over the last decades, research on early life risk factors for obesity and its comorbidities in early life has gained attention within the field of developmental origins of health and diseases. Metabolomics studies that are trying to find early life biomarker and intervention targets for the early development of obesity and associated cardiovascular diseases could help break the inter-generational cycle of obesity. Summary: Metabolomics studies in the field of early programming are scarce and causality is lacking at this stage, as most of the studies are cross-sectional. The main metabolites in the focus of obesity are branched-chain and aromatic amino acids, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, lysophosphatidylcholines, and sphingomyelins. Sex and puberty have not been considered in most of the biomarker studies, but show differences in the metabolite associations to obesity. Key Messages: There is still a lot unknown about the associations between early programming exposures, metabolite concentrations, and the development of obesity. The few studies focusing on this topic find similar metabolite classes in the same age groups being associated with rapid early growth or obesity; but due to differences in the methodological and statistical approaches, the single species often differ. Therefore, more research, preferably with standardized approaches, is needed.

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