A recent study conducted by the University of Colorado has pointed out that obesity in pregnant women can affect the offspring even before they are born. The study published in the journal, ‘The Journal of Physiology’ stated that a foetus’s heart health determines by the nutrient it receives in the womb of the mother. However, obesity of the mother leads to gene altercation impacting the normal heart function of the unborn.
The study conducted on pregnant mice analysed the gene and development of the subjects. Results show that the obese female mice offspring had bigger hearts with more weight and thicker walls. The heart even showed signs of inflammation.
Using the mouse model for the study, the researchers at University of Colorado also attempted to study the impact alterations in the male and female foetus. . They changed the expression of 841 genes in the hearts of female foetuses whereas 764 genes were altered in male foetuses
The findings of this experiment highlighted the signs of impaired cardiac health conditions inherited from mothers with obesity. The progression of the condition though varied in males and females. While males were impacted from the beginning, female offspring’s cardiac health became worse with age.
Dr Owen Vaughan, lead author of the study, said, “Our research indicates a mechanism linking maternal obesity with cardiometabolic illness in the next generation. This is important because obesity is increasing rapidly in the human population and affects almost one-third of women of childbearing age. By improving our understanding of the mechanisms involved, this research paves the way for treatments that could be used in early life to prevent later-life cardiometabolic illnesses, which are costly for health services and affect many people’s quality of life.”
The deterring cardiac health of female offspring was due to the level of oestrogen hormone present in the females. The higher number of oestrogen hormones acts as a protection for females’ heart health. However, with age, the hormonal level drops and leads to cardiovascular diseases.
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