Short term exendin-4 treatment reduces markers of metabolic disorders in female offspring of obese rat dams

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 2015, 46 pp. 67 - 75
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Objectives: Maternal obesity imposes significant health risks in the offspring including diabetes and dyslipidemia. We previously showed that the hypoglycaemic agent exendin-4 (Ex-4) administered from weaning can reverse the maternal impact of 'transmitted disorders' in such offspring. However daily injection for six-weeks was required and the beneficial effect may lapse upon drug withdrawal. This study aimed to investigate whether short term Ex-4 treatment during suckling period in a rodent model can reverse transmitted metabolic disorders due to maternal obesity. Methods: Maternal obesity was induced in female Sprague Dawley rats by high-fat diet feeding for 6 weeks, throughout gestation and lactation. Female offspring were treated with Ex-4 (5. μg/kg/day) between postnatal day (P) 4 and 14. Female offspring were harvested at weaning (P20). Lipid and glucose metabolic markers were measured in the liver and fat. Appetite regulators were measured in the plasma and hypothalamus. Results: Maternal obesity significantly increased body weight, fat mass, and liver weight in the offspring. There was an associated inhibition of peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor gamma coactivator 1α (PGC1α), increased fatty acid synthase (FASN) expression in the liver, and reduced adipocyte triglyceride lipase (ATGL) expression. It also increased the plasma gut hormone ghrelin and reduced glucagon-like peptide-1. Ex-4 treatment partially reversed the maternal impact on adiposity and impaired lipid metabolism in the offspring, with increased liver PGC1α and inhibition of FASN mRNA expression. Ex-4 treatment also increased the expression of a novel fat depletion gene a2-zinc-glycoprotein 1 in the fat tissue. Conclusion: Short term Ex-4 treatment during the suckling period significantly improved the metabolic profile in the offspring from the obese mothers at weaning. Long-term studies are needed to follow such offspring to adulthood to examine the sustained effects of Ex-4 in preventing the development of metabolic disease.
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