Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332377

Research Project: Impact of Early Dietary Factors on Child Development and Health

Location: Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center

Title: Reversing gestational undernutrition via kick-starting early growth

item SHANKAR, K - Arkansas Children'S Nutrition Research Center (ACNC)

Submitted to: Endocrinology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2015
Publication Date: 9/1/2015
Citation: Shankar, K. 2015. Reversing gestational undernutrition via kick-starting early growth. Endocrinology. 156(9):3059-3062. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1625.

Interpretive Summary: n/a

Technical Abstract: Poor maternal nutrition enhances chronic disease risk in the offspring. The conceptual framework for this association is provided by the developmental origins of health and disease (DoHAD) hypothesis which suggests that unfavorable prenatal and postnatal environments, lead to permanent alterations in organ structure and function that may confer increased risk towards a variety of chronic diseases. While continued research attempts to elucidate the mechanistic underpinning of developmental programming, an equally pivotal but less appreciated focus has been on interventions to reverse or mitigate the effects of developmental programming. This article examines recent findings toward this laudable goal. In this report, we look at a well-characterized and frequently employed model of global maternal undernutrition, which reproducibility has been shown to induce obesity and metabolic dysfunction in adult offspring. The study assessed if treatment of offspring with growth hormone (GH) from post-natal day 3 until weaning affected this programmed obesity risk. As anticipated, fetal undernutrition reduced birth weights and offspring display catch-up growth. On the other hand, early post-natal GH treatment led to increased body weight compared and normalization of post-natal growth trajectories, development of excessive adiposity and improved insulin sensitivity in females. These findings highlight developmental plasticity and the pre-weaning period as a malleable window during which the consequences of gestational undernutrition can be partly undone.