News on Health & Science

People Programmed to be Fat

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A high fat diet even before you were born might have programmed you to a life of over-eating. A new research suggests that eating a high-fat diet in pregnancy may cause changes in the fetal brain that lead to obesity early in l

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Tests on rats showed those born to mothers fed a high-fat diet had many more brain cells specialised to produce appetite-stimulating proteins, reports the BBC News website. The Rockefeller University team say the finding may help explain why obesity rates have soared in recent years.

Previous research on adult animals had shown that when fats known as triglycerides circulate in the blood they stimulate the production of proteins in the brain known as orexigenic peptides, which in turn stimulate the appetite. The latest study suggests exposure to triglycerides from the mother’s diet has the same effect on the developing fetal brain – and that the effect then lasts throughout the offspring’s life.

The researchers compared the offspring of rats fed a high-fat diet for two weeks with those whose mothers ate a moderate amount of fat. They found that the pups born to the high-fat diet mothers ate more, weighed more throughout life, and began puberty earlier than those born to mothers who ate a normal diet.

They also had higher levels of triglycerides in the blood at birth, and as adults, and a greater production of orexigenic peptides in their brains. More detailed analysis showed that, even before the birth, the high-fat pups had a much larger number of brain cells that produce orexigenic peptides – and they kept them throughout their lives. Their mothers’ high-fat diet appeared to stimulate production of the cells, and their subsequent migration to parts of the brain linked to obesity

Sources: The Times Of India