Women entering pregnancy with a high body weight and fat mass have babies who are at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese in later life. We investigated whether maternal overnutrition in the periconceptional period results in an increased fat mass and expression of adipogenic and lipogenic genes in offspring and whether dietary restriction can reverse these changes. Nonpregnant donor ewes (n = 23) were assigned to one of four groups: control-control fed at 100% maintenance energy requirements (MER) for at least 5 months, control-restricted fed 100% MER for 4 months and 70% MER for 1 month, high-high (HH) fed ad libitum (170-190% MER) for 5 months, or high-restricted (HR) fed ad libitum for 4 months and 70% MER for 1 month. Single embryos were transferred to nonobese recipient ewes, and lamb fat depots were weighed at 4 months. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, glyceraldehyde-3- phosphate dehydrogenase, lipoprotein lipase, leptin, and adiponectin mRNA expression was measured in the lamb fat depots. Total fat mass was higher in female lambs in the HH but not HR group than controls. There was a relationship between donor ewe weight and total fat mass and G3PDH mRNA expression in perirenal fat in female lambs. There was no effect of periconceptional nutritional treatment on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, lipoprotein lipase, leptin, and adiponectin mRNA expression in any fat depot. Thus, exposure to maternal overnutrition in the periconceptional period alone results in an increased body fat mass in the offspring and that a short period of dietary restriction can reverse this effect.
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