PloS one

Fat and carbohydrate intake over three generations modify growth, metabolism and cardiovascular phenotype in female mice in an age-related manner.

PMID 26266533


Environmental challenges such as a high fat diet during pregnancy can induce changes in offspring growth, metabolism and cardiovascular function. However, challenges that are sustained over several generations can induce progressive compensatory metabolic adjustments in young adults. It is not known if such effects persist during ageing. We investigated whether diets with different fat and carbohydrate contents over three generations modifies markers of ageing. Female C57BL/6 F0 mice were fed diets containing 5% or 21% fat (w/w) throughout pregnancy and lactation. Female offspring were fed the same diet as their dams until the F3 generation. In each generation, body weight, 24-hour food intake were recorded weekly, and plasma metabolites were measured by colorimetric assays, blood pressure by tail cuff plethysmography and vasoconstriction by myography on postnatal day 90 or 456. There was little effect of diet or generation on phenotypic markers in day 90 adults. There was a significant increase in whole body, liver and heart weight with ageing (d456) in the F3 21% fat group compared to the F1 and F3 5% groups. Fasting plasma glucose concentration was significantly increased with ageing in the 5% group in the F3 generation and in the 21% group in both generations. There was a significant effect of diet and generation on ex-vivo vasoconstriction in ageing females. Differences in dietary fat may induce metabolic compensation in young adults that persist over three generations. However, such compensatory effects decline during ageing.