Maternal Obesity Affects Fetal Neurodevelopmental and Metabolic Gene Expression

Study findings may have implications for postnatal neurodevelopmental and metabolic abnormalities described in the offspring of obese women


Maternal obesity also appears to have intergenerational health consequences beyond childhood metabolic syndrome and obesity. Data from large epidemiologic studies suggest an association with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring, including lower general cognitive capabilities, and an increased incidence of autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The molecular mechanisms by which maternal obesity might result in an increased risk for childhood obesity, metabolic syndrome, and adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes are currently unknown.

” The IPA upstream regulator analysis predicted significant activation of the estrogen receptor (ESR1/2), FOS, and STAT3. Prior experience with diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen, and recent data regarding in utero exposure to estrogenic compounds such as bisphenol A, suggest that developmental exposure to excess estrogen signaling may result in obesity, earlier sexual maturation in girls, and increased risk for breast and other reproductive tract cancers .

  • Read and download the full study (free access) Maternal Obesity Affects Fetal Neurodevelopmental and Metabolic Gene Expression: A Pilot Study, on the NCBI, PubMed, PLoS One, PMC3928248, 2014 Feb 18.
  • Image credit Twentyfour Students.

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