Impaired liver function in pregnancy ups obesity risk in kids
Impaired liver function during pregnancy may alter gut bacteria composition and increase the risk of obesity in children, according to a new study.
In a rodent of model of the most common liver disease in pregnancy, the composition of gut bacteria in offspring was altered and liver function impaired, particularly when they were fed a Western-style, high-fat diet.
"These findings further suggest that health during pregnancy can have long-term effects on children. In this case they suggest that gut microbiome alterations, may increase the risk of obesity in children, when fed a western style, high-fat diet, " said researchers.
The most common liver disease in pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP), reduces the release of digestive fluid bile from the liver causing bile acids to build up in the blood, impairing liver function. This causes severe itching in the mother and increases risks of stillbirth and preterm birth for the baby.
Previous studies suggest that children of women with ICP are more likely to develop childhood obesity.
For the findings, the research team investigated how gut microbiota are affected in the offspring of a mouse model of ICP.
The results reported that the offspring had a different gut microbiome composition and liver function, particularly when fed a high-fat diet, which could contribute to impaired metabolism and increase risk of obesity.
The results suggest that mice born to mothers with ICP, or other liver diseases, may benefit from maintaining a healthy diet and should avoid fatty foods.
The study was presented at The Society for Endocrinology Annual Conference in the UK.
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