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Supplementation with a prebiotic (polydextrose) in obese mouse pregnancy improves maternal glucose homeostasis and protects against offspring obesity

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Xanthi Maragkoudaki, Matthew Naylor, Georgia Papacleovoulou, Emilie Stolarczyk, Douglas Rees, Joaquim M. Pombo, Shadi Abu-Hayyeh, Anja Czajka, Jane K. Howard, Afshan N. Malik, Catherine Williamson, Lucilla Poston, Paul D. Taylor

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2382-2393
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number12
Early online date8 Oct 2020
Accepted/In press4 Sep 2020
E-pub ahead of print8 Oct 2020
PublishedDec 2020


King's Authors


Objectives: We hypothesised that maternal diet-induced-obesity has adverse consequences for offspring energy expenditure and susceptibility to obesity in adulthood, and that the prebiotic polydextrose (PDX) would prevent the consequences of programming by maternal obesity. Methods: Female mice were fed a control (Con) or obesogenic diet (Ob) for 6 weeks prior to mating and throughout pregnancy and lactation. Half the obese dams were supplemented with 5% PDX (ObPDX) in drinking water throughout pregnancy and lactation. Offspring were weaned onto standard chow. At 3 and 6 months, offspring energy intake (EI) and energy expenditure (EE by indirect calorimetry) were measured, and a glucose-tolerance test performed. Offspring of control (OffCon), obese (OffOb) and PDX supplemented (OffObP) dams were subsequently challenged for 3 weeks with Ob, and energy balanced reassessed. Potential modifiers of offspring energy balance including gut microbiota and biomarkers of mitochondrial activity were also evaluated. Results: Six-month-old male OffOb demonstrated increased bodyweight (BW, P < 0.001) and white adipose tissue mass (P < 0.05), decreased brown adipose tissue mass (BAT, P < 0.01), lower night-time EE (P < 0.001) versus OffCon, which were prevented in OffObP. Both male and female OffOb showed abnormal glucose-tolerance test (peak [Glucose] P < 0.001; AUC, P < 0.05) which was prevented by PDX. The Ob challenge resulted in greater BW gain in both male and female OffOb versus OffCon (P < 0.05), also associated with increased EI (P < 0.05) and reduced EE in females (P < 0.01). OffObP were protected from accelerated BW gain on the OB diet compared with controls, associated with increased night-time EE in both male (P < 0.05) and female OffObP (P < 0.001). PDX also prevented an increase in skeletal muscle mtDNA copy number in OffOb versus OffCon (P < 0.01) and increased the percentage of Bacteroides cells in faecal samples from male OffObP relative to controls. Conclusions: Maternal obesity adversely influences adult offspring energy balance and propensity for obesity, which is ameliorated by maternal PDX treatment with associated changes in gut microbiota composition and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function.

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