Maternal High Fat Diet Alters Gut Microbiota of Offspring and Exacerbates DSS-Induced Colitis in Adulthood


Background: Accumulating evidence shows that high fat diet is closely associated with inflammatory bowel disease. However, the effects and underlying mechanisms of maternal high fat diet (MHFD) on the susceptibility of offspring to colitis in adulthood lacks confirmation.Methods: C57BL/6 pregnant mice were given either a high fat (60 E% fat, MHFD group) or control diet [10 E% fat, maternal control diet (MCD) group] during gestation and lactation. The intestinal development, mucosal barrier function, microbiota, and mucosal inflammation of 3-week old offspring were assessed. After weaning all mice were fed a control diet until 8 weeks of age when the microbiota was analyzed. Offspring were also treated with 2% DSS solution for 5 days and the severity of colitis was assessed.Results: The offspring in MHFD group were significantly heavier than those in MCD group only at 2–4 weeks of age, while no differences were found in the body weight between two groups at other measured time points. Compared with MCD group, MHFD significantly inhibited intestinal development and disrupted barrier function in 3-week old offspring. Although H&E staining showed no obvious microscopic inflammation in both groups of 3-week old offspring, increased production of inflammatory cytokines indicated low-grade inflammation was induced in MHFD group. Moreover, fecal analysis of the 3-week old offspring indicated that the microbiota compositions and diversity were significantly changed in MHFD group. Interestingly after 5 weeks consumption of control diet in both groups, the microbiota composition of offspring in MHFD group was still different from that in MCD group, although the bacterial diversity was partly recovered at 8 weeks of age. Finally, after DSS treatment in 8-week old offspring, MHFD significantly exacerbated the severity of colitis and increased the production of proinflammatory cytokine.Conclusions: Our data reveal that MHFD in early life can inhibit intestinal development, induce dysbiosis and low-grade inflammation and lead to the disruption of intestinal mucosal barrier in offspring, and enhance DSS-induced colitis in adulthood

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