A mouse model of pre-pregnancy maternal obesity combined with offspring exposure to a high-fat diet resulted in cognitive impairment in male offspring

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Abstract

Background:

Cognitive impairment is a brain dysfunction characterized by neuropsychological deficits in attention, working memory, and executive function. Maternal obesity and consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) in the offspring has been suggested to have detrimental consequences for offspring cognitive function through its effect on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Therefore, our study aimed to investigate the effects of maternal obesity and offspring HFD exposure on the brain metabolome of the offspring.

Methods:

In our pilot study, a LepRdb/+mouse model was used to model pre-pregnancy maternal obesity and the c57bl/6 wildtype was used as a control group. Offspring were fed either a HFD or a low-fat control diet (LFD) after weaning (between 8 and 10 weeks). The Mirrors water maze was performed between 28 and 30 weeks to measure cognitive function. Fatty acid metabolomic profiles of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus from the offspring at 30–32 weeks were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Results:

The memory of male offspring from obese maternal mice, consuming a HFD post-weaning, was significantly impaired when compared to the control offspring mice. No significant differences were observed in female offspring. In male mice, the fatty acid metabolites in the prefrontal cortex were most affected by maternal obesity, whereas, the fatty acid metabolites in the hippocampus were most affected by the offspring's diet. Hexadecanoic acid and octadecanoic acid were significantly affected in both the hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex, as a result of maternal obesity and a HFD in the offspring.

Conclusion:

Our findings suggest that the combination of maternal obesity and HFD in the offspring can result in spatial cognitive deficiency in the male offspring, by influencing the fatty acid metabolite profiles in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Further research is needed to validate the results of our pilot study.

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