Impact of maternal obesity on offspring adipose tissue: Lessons for the clinic

Beverly S. Muhlhausler, Mini A. Vithayathil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Maternal obesity is a major risk factor for the subsequent development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the child. This relationship appears to be driven largely by the exposure of the fetus to an increased nutrient supply during critical periods of development, which results in persistent changes in the structure and function of key systems involved in the regulation of energy balance, appetite and fat deposition. One of the key targets is the fat cell, or adipocyte, in which prenatal overnutrition programs a heightened capacity for fat storage. The increasing prevalence of maternal obesity has led to an urgent need for strategies to break the resulting intergenerational cycle of obesity and metabolic disease. This review will discuss the relationship between maternal obesity and poor metabolic health of the offspring, with a particular focus on the involvement of adipose tissue, recent clinical studies examining potential strategies for intervention and priority areas for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-627
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Review of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Nov 2014


  • adipose tissue
  • fetal programming
  • lipogenesis
  • maternal nutrition
  • obesity
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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