A maternal "junk-food" diet reduces sensitivity to the opioid antagonist naloxone in offspring postweaning.
ABSTRACT Perinatal exposure to a maternal "junk-food" diet has been demonstrated to increase the preference for palatable diets in adult offspring. We aimed to determine whether this increased preference could be attributed to changes in μ-opioid receptor expression within the mesolimbic reward pathway. We report here that mRNA expression of the μ-opioid receptor in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) at weaning was 1.4-fold (males) and 1.9-fold (females) lower in offspring of junk-food (JF)-fed rat dams than in offspring of dams fed a standard rodent diet (control) (P<0.05). Administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone to offspring given a palatable diet postweaning significantly reduced fat intake in control offspring (males: 7.7±0.7 vs. 5.4±0.6 g/kg/d; females: 6.9±0.3 vs. 3.9±0.5g/kg/d; P<0.05), but not in male JF offspring (8.6±0.6 vs. 7.1±0.5g/kg/d) and was less effective at reducing fat intake in JF females (42.2±6.0 vs. 23.1±4.1% reduction, P<0.05). Similar findings were observed for total energy intake. Naloxone treatment did not affect intake of standard rodent feed in control or JF offspring. These findings suggest that exposure to a maternal junk-food diet results in early desensitization of the opioid system which may explain the increased preference for junk food in these offspring.
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ABSTRACT: Obesity is generally associated with high intake of junk foods rich in energy, fat, sugar and salt combined with a dysfunctional control of appetite and lack of exercise. There is some evidence to suggest that appetite and body mass can be influenced by maternal food intake during the fetal and suckling life of an individual. However, the influence of a maternal junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation on the feeding behaviour and weight gain of the offspring remains largely uncharacterised. In this study, six groups of rats were fed either rodent chow alone or with a junk food diet during gestation, lactation and/or post-weaning. The daily food intakes and body mass were measured in forty-two pregnant and lactating mothers as well as in 216 offspring from weaning up to 10 weeks of age. Results showed that 10 week-old rats born to mothers fed the junk food diet during gestation and lactation developed an exacerbated preference for fatty, sugary and salty foods at the expense of protein-rich foods when compared with offspring fed a balanced chow diet prior to weaning or during lactation alone. Male and female offspring exposed to the junk food diet throughout the study also exhibited increased body weight and BMI compared with all other offspring. This study shows that a maternal junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation may be an important contributing factor in the development of obesity.British Journal Of Nutrition 11/2007; 98(4):843-51. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Individuals exposed to high-fat, high-sugar diets before birth have an increased risk of obesity in later life. Recent studies have shown that these offspring exhibit increased preference for fat, leading to suggestions that perinatal exposure to high-fat, high-sugar foods results in permanent changes within the central reward system that increase the subsequent drive to overconsume palatable foods. The present study has determined the effect of a maternal "junk-food" diet on the expression of key components of the mesolimbic reward pathway in the offspring of rat dams at 6 wk and 3 mo of age. We show that offspring of junk-food-fed (JF) dams exhibit higher fat intake from weaning until at least 3 mo of age (males: 16 ± 0.6 vs. 11 ± 0.8 g/kg/d; females: 19 ± 1.3 vs. 13 ± 0.4 g/kg/d; P<0.01). mRNA expression of μ-opioid receptor (Mu) was 1.6-fold higher (P<0.01) and dopamine active transporter (DAT) was 2-fold lower (P<0.05) in JF offspring at 6 wk of age. By 3 mo, these differences were reversed, and Mu mRNA expression was 2.8-fold lower (P<0.01) and DAT mRNA expression was 1.9-fold higher (P<0.01) in the JF offspring. These findings suggest that perinatal exposure to high-fat, high-sugar diets results in altered development of the central reward system, resulting in increased fat intake and altered response of the reward system to excessive junk-food intake in postnatal life.The FASEB Journal 03/2011; 25(7):2167-79. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Maternal obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of obesity in the offspring. Obesity, arising from an imbalance of energy intake and expenditure, can be driven by the ingestion of palatable [high fat (HF), high sugar], energy-dense foods. Dopamine and opioid circuitry are neural substrates associated with reward that can affect animals' preference for palatable foods. Using a mouse model, the long-term effect of maternal consumption of a HF diet on dopamine and opioid gene expression within the mesocorticolimbic reward circuitry and hypothalamus of the offspring was investigated. Mice from dams fed a HF diet during pregnancy and lactation showed an increased preference for sucrose and fat. Gene expression, measured using quantitative real-time PCR, revealed a significant approximately 3- to 10-fold up-regulation of dopamine reuptake transporter (DAT) in the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, and prefrontal cortex and a down-regulation of DAT in the hypothalamus. Additionally, expression of both μ-opioid receptor (MOR) and preproenkephalin (PENK) was increased in nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex, and hypothalamus of mice from dams that consumed the HF diet. Epigenetic mechanisms have been associated with long-term programming of gene expression after various in utero insults. We observed global and gene-specific (DAT, MOR, and PENK) promoter DNA hypomethylation in the brains of offspring from dams that consumed the HF diet. These data demonstrate that maternal consumption of a HF diet can change the offsprings' epigenetic marks (DNA hypomethylation) in association with long-term alterations in gene expression (dopamine and opioids) and behavior (preference for palatable foods).Endocrinology 10/2010; 151(10):4756-64. · 4.72 Impact Factor