Anthony Akerele - April 24

Fat Metabolism during Pregnancy: Implication of Long Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Fetal Outcomes

Nutrition during pregnancy programs set points for metabolic and physiological responses in the offspring which manifest at either childhood or at adult life. Several studies have now established that the quantity and the quality of dietary fats consumed during pregnancy have profound health implication during and after pregnancy. There are numerous studies suggesting that omega (n)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and their metabolites improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes by modifying gestation length, and reducing the recurrence of pre-term delivery; however, there are also controversial reports. This could be due to dose effect of n-3 PUFA, as well as duration of intervention during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, complex metabolic adaptations occur which allows the mother to support the growth and development of the fetus. More so, changes in the profiles of local cytokines during different stages of pregnancy have a profound effect on pregnancy progression. We investigated the effect of the quality and the quantity of maternal fat intake on maternal metabolic profile during different stages of pregnancy and its impact on pregnancy sustainability using C57BL/6 mice. We also investigated the mechanism through which high n-3 PUFA intake during pregnancy could increase gestation length and birth weight through cytokines regulation, and the propensity through which n-3 PUFA facilitate positive materno-fetal outcomes through a common pathway. Our findings show that a low fat maternal diet enriched with longer chain n-3 PUFA increased lipogenesis, along with increased cholesterol efflux capacity, likely to meet fetal lipid demand during pregnancy. Furthermore, diet enriched with longer chain n-3 PUFA increased maternal plasma concentration of progesterone and estradiol during pregnancy, which coincides with an increase in the number of fetuses sustained till late gestation. Thus, our findings emphasize that quality and quantity of dietary fat should be incorporated in designing dietary strategies to optimize reproductive capability and pregnancy outcomes.



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