Maternal high-fat diet alters lung development and function in the offspring

Kathryn M. Heyob, Saya Mieth, Sophia S. Sugar, Amanda E. Graf, Scott W. Lallier, Rodney D. Britt, Lynette K. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The effects of maternal obesity on lung development have been recognized, and speculation is that these diseases are not simply because of accelerated pulmonary decline with aging but with a failure to achieve optimal lung development during early life. These studies tested the hypothesis that maternal obesity alters signaling pathways during the course of lung development that may affect life-long pulmonary health. Adult female mice were fed 60% fat [high-fat diet (HFD)] or 10% fat [control diet (CD)] for 8 wk before mating and through weaning. Pup lung tissues were collected at postnatal days (PN) 7, 21, and 90 (after receiving HFD or CD as adults). At PN7, body weights from HFD were greater than CD but lung weight-to-body weight ratios were lower. In lung tissues, NFκB-mediated inflammation was greater in HFD pups at PN21 and phospho-/total STAT3, phospho-/total VEGF receptor 2, and total AKT protein levels were lower with maternal HFD and protein tyrosine phosphatase B1 levels were increased. Decreased platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule levels were observed at PN21 and at PN90 in the pups exposed to maternal HFD. Morphometry indicated that the pups exposed to maternal or adult HFD had fewer alveoli, and the effect was additive. Decreases in pulmonary resistance, elastance, and compliance were observed because of adult HFD diet and decreases in airway resistance and increases in inspiratory capacity because of maternal HFD. In conclusion, maternal HFD disrupts signaling pathways in the early developing lung and may contribute to deficiencies in lung function and increased susceptibility in adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L167-L174
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Alveolarization
  • Angiogenesis
  • High-fat diet
  • Lung development
  • Maternal obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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