Maternal dietary imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids triggers the offspring’s overeating in mice
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The increasing prevalence of obesity and its effects on our society warrant intensifying basic animal research for understanding why habitual intake of highly palatable foods has increased due to recent global environmental changes. Here, we report that pregnant mice that consume a diet high in omega-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and low in omega-3 (n-3) PUFAs (an n-6high/n-3low diet), whose n-6/n-3 ratio is approximately 120, induces hedonic consumption in the offspring by upregulating the midbrain dopaminergic system. We found that exposure to the n-6high/n-3low diet specifically increases the consumption of palatable foods via increased mesolimbic dopamine release. In addition, neurodevelopmental analyses revealed that this induced hedonic consumption is programmed during embryogenesis, as dopaminergic neurogenesis is increased during in utero access to the n-6high/n-3low diet. Our findings reveal that maternal consumption of PUFAs can have long-lasting effects on the offspring’s pattern for consuming highly palatable foods.
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP16H06276, JP17H06059, JP17J10395, JP19H05023, and JP19K20184 (to N.S.), the Grant for Young Scientists from the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science (to N.S.), and the Otsuka Award from the Japan Society for Lipid Nutrition (to N.S.).
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Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences