The impact of an increase in maternal fat consumption on fetal metabolic programming separately from maternal obesity remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to document the effect of in utero high-fat diet exposure on the development of metabolic syndrome characteristics in offspring. C57BL/6 female mice were fed either a control diet (10% fat) or a moderately high-fat (MHF) diet (45% fat) until delivery. All pups were fostered to mothers fed with the control diet. Pups were raised on the control diet and assessed until 35 weeks of age. The caloric intake from fat was significantly increased in the MHF dams compared with the control dams. There were no significant differences in the maternal weight at mating or at gestational Day 18 between the two groups. The MHF offspring did not become obese, but they developed hypertension and glucose intolerance. Moreover, the MHF offspring had significantly higher serum non-esterified fatty acid and triglyceride levels during the refeeding state following fasting as compared with the control offspring. Serum adiponectin levels were significantly lower, and the cell size of the mesenteric adipose tissue was significantly larger in the MHF offspring than in the control offspring. The mRNA levels of the proinflammatory macrophage markers in the mesenteric adipose tissue were significantly higher in the MHF offspring than those of the control offspring. These results suggest that in utero high-fat diet exposure causes hypertension and glucose intolerance resulting from mesenteric adipose tissue dysfunction in offspring, independently of maternal obesity.
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