DS0406 -

Maternal obesity associated-microbiotas programs offspring food intake – MAMIPROOFFI

Submission summary

To develop effective strategies to prevent childhood obesity it is essential to better understand its causes. Worldwide, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children has risen dramatically over the last decades. As treatment of established obesity often fails, prevention is highly desirable. Consistent with the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) concept, literature suggests obesity is ‘transmitted’ from mother to child, as the best predictor of the risk of obesity at 8 years of age is the mother's pre-gravid body mass index (BMI). Even though genetic, psychosocial, behavioral, and dietary factors play a role, the contribution of the various channels through which the risk of obesity is transmitted from mother to child remains unclear.
In obese humans and obese animal models, intestinal microbiota is altered as compared to lean counterparts. This holds true for obese gestational women. In adults, accumulating evidence suggests that intestinal microbiota is involved in the regulation of energy metabolism and body composition in the host.

The transmission of a microbiota, "signature" of the maternal obesity, to her child during early periods of development, could potentially affect his metabolism, since maternal microbiota is the main determinant of colonization of intestine of the child. It was also recently demonstrated in animal models that maternal obesity can induce alterations in the development of neonatal brain structures that regulate appetite and finally, that the microbiota interfere with brain development. We made the original assumption that the transfer of a specific microbiota of obese mother, would be responsible for modulation of hypothalamic nerve circuits and brain stem in the offspring, and contribute to changes in appetite regulation.

To explore the specific role of maternal microbiota, we built a scientific strategy combining animal experiments, characterizations of eating behavior and associated neuronal circuits of the offspring, and the performance and computation of high throughout microbiotas analyses with the following specific aims:
1) to demonstrate the impact of maternal obesity-associated microbiota on HT and/or DVC neurodevelopment and eating behavior in offspring;
2) to identify maternal microbiota(s) and bacterial species/gene responsible for altered HT/DVC neurodevelopment and eating behavior in offspring,
3) to prove the causative role of identified bacterial species in alteration of HT/DVC neurodevelopment and eating behavior in offspring.

To minimize confounding factors (metabolic status of the obese rat during gestation and lactation, genetic determinism of obese rat strains) we chose to realize, from the first days of life, a vertical transfer of microbiota (intestinal, vaginal or milk microbiota) from dams genetically predisposed to obesity (Sprague Dawley Obese Prone model under high-energy diet) into newborn rats born by caesarean section.

The project includes 3 work packages (WP), aimed at: (i) (WP0) managing the project (ii) (WP1) analysing in the progenythe impact of maternal obesity-associated microbiota transfer on brain structure and eating behavior, (iii) (WP2) Identifying the maternal microbiotas involved and bacterial species/genes candidate(s); (iv) (WP3) Assessing the causative role of the identified bacterial specieson neurodevelopmental processes and brain functions related to food intake.
This project will 1) produce novel knowledge concerning maternal microbiota as a channel of communication between mother and offspring, and 2) identify early biomarkers (bacterial species or genes) predictive of eating behavior alteration. Such findings could potentially lead to the identification of new targets to develop drugs or nutritional strategies to the mother or newborn for reversing the inheritance of metabolic disorders.

Project coordinator

Madame Patricia Parnet (UMR Physiologie des Adaptations Nutritionnelles)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


INRA MGP INRA centre de Jouy en Josas
MICALIS UMR 1319 Microbiologie de l’Alimentation au service de la Santé
PHAN UMR Physiologie des Adaptations Nutritionnelles

Help of the ANR 423,840 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2016 - 36 Months

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