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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research » Research » Research Project #439203

Research Project: Protective Effects of Dietary Pulse Flours on the Transgenerational Influence of Maternal Obesity

Location: Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-002-017-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Feb 28, 2025

Our long-term goal is to characterize the influence of maternal pulse flour consumption, sourced from yellow peas, lentils, navy and pinto beans, as a means to improve maternal health and prevent negative offspring health outcomes in obese pregnancies. This project has two objectives that will be pursued using a diet-induced obese Sprague Dawley rat model. Objective 1. Characterize the protective influence of dietary pulse flour consumption on maternal obesity and fetal health; and Objective 2. Evaluate the influence of maternal pulse consumption during pregnancy and lactation in protecting against obesity and obesity-induced gut microbiome dysbiosis in offspring throughout the life-course.

Female Sprague Dawley rats will be randomized into six dietary groups throughout pre-pregnancy, gestation, and lactation. The dietary treatments (n=12 per group) will include a low calorie control (CON), a high calorie obesity-inducing diet (OB), and the OB diet supplemented with flours (20% weight/weight) sourced from yellow peas, lentils, navy and pinto beans. The influence of pulse-flour consumption on maternal health, including body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors (blood glucose, lipids, hormones, and inflammatory markers) will be assessed in each period. Further, changes in maternal intestinal microbiome profile (through shotgun sequencing) and tissue-specific outcomes (including pancreatic insulin content and secretion, hypothalamic markers of appetite control, and liver fat metabolism) will be assessed at the end of pregnancy. Following birth, litters will be adjusted to 8 pups per dam within 24 hours and equally matched for number of males and females. Litter size, pup sex, and weight (throughout lactation) will be recorded. Throughout the lactation period, maternal milk will be collected to characterize the influence of maternal diet on milk-derived macronutrients, hormones, and microbiome profile. Upon weaning, the association between maternal milk composition and microbiome profile of newly-weaned pups will be assessed. Following weaning, male and female offspring will be randomized into postnatal CON or OB diets until adulthood (postnatal day 120) with body weight and feed intake assessed weekly. On postnatal day 90, a glucose tolerance test will be performed. In adulthood, the phenotype of adult progeny will be characterized to assess the protective effects of maternal pulse flour consumption on offspring metabolic health including cardiometabolic blood biomarkers and tissue-specific health responses (pancreas, hypothalamus, and liver).