Fat Diet & Obesity During Pregnancy Affect Baby’s Haematopoietic Stem Cells

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According to a recent study conducted by scientists from OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Oregon, USA, maternal obesity and prenatal high fat diet affects the growth and expansion of blood forming haematopoietic stem cells in the fetal liver, thereby compromising the baby’s immune system.

A few years back, Daniel L. Marks and his colleagues created a mice model that mimics the high fat and high sugar diet consumed by women in their childbearing age. The study revealed that maternal over nutrition in the animal model showed a significant reduction in the size of the fetal liver. These findings created the base for the current study to discover the effects of high fat diet and obesity on Haematopoietic stem cells as liver is the major source of blood cells. nitially, the haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) appear on the early embryo and move to the baby’s liver where they rapidly expand and finally reach the bone marrow for further expansion. Thus, an affected liver may also have effects on the HSCs and thereby immune system. Mark, co-investigator and professor of paediatric endocrinology in the OHSU School of Medicine teamed up with a stem cell expert, Peter Kurre, professor of paediatric oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine for the current research and presented their findings in the journal, Molecular Metabolism. The research shows the complex changes caused by maternal obesity when paired with high fat prenatal diet. These changes will limit the HSC growth and ultimately affecting the immune system.

“These findings may provide broad context for the rise in immune disease and allergic disposition in children… Our results offer a model for testing whether the effects of a high-fat diet and obesity can be repaired through dietary intervention, a key question when extrapolating this data to human populations,” said Mark.

As immune system is an important part of the baby’s normal development, pregnant women should consider a healthy low fat diet. By altering the food habits and lifestyle, one can prevent such health disorders and provide good health to the baby.


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