Glycaemic index of maternal dietary carbohydrate differentially alters Fto and Lep expression in offspring in C57BL/6 mice

Theodora Sideratou, Fiona Atkinson, Grace J. Campbell, Peter Petocz, Kim S. Bell-Anderson*, Jennie Brand-Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Maternal diet and gestational hyperglycaemia have implications for offspring health. Leptin (LEP) and fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) alleles are known to influence body fat mass in humans, potentially via effects on appetite. We hypothesized that expression of Fto, Lep, and other appetite-related genes (Argp, Npy, Pomc, Cart, Lepr) in the offspring of female mice are influenced by the glycaemic index (GI) of carbohydrates in the maternal diet. C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to low or high GI diets and mated with chow-fed males at eight weeks of age. Male pups were weaned at four weeks and randomly divided into two groups, one group following their mother’s diet (LL and HH), and one following the standard chow diet (LC and HC) to 20 weeks. Fto expression was 3.8-fold higher in the placenta of mothers fed the high GI diet (p = 0.0001) and 2.5-fold higher in the hypothalamus of 20-week old offspring fed the high GI (HH vs. LL, p < 0.0001). By contrast, leptin gene (Lep) expression in visceral adipose tissue was 4.4-fold higher in four-week old offspring of low GI mothers (LC vs. HC, p < 0.0001) and 3.3-fold higher in visceral adipose tissue of 20-week old animals (LL vs. HH, p < 0.0001). Plasma ghrelin and leptin levels, and hypothalamic appetite genes were also differentially regulated by maternal and offspring diet. These findings provide the first evidence in an animal model that maternal high GI dietary carbohydrates that are digested and absorbed faster may contribute to programming of appetite in offspring.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1342
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Appetite
    • C57BL/6
    • FTO
    • Gene expression
    • Glycaemic index
    • Obesity
    • Pregnancy


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