Dietary intervention rescues maternal obesity induced behavior deficits and neuroinflammation in offspring

Silvia S. Kang, Aishe Kurti, Damien A. Fair, John D. Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Obesity induces a low-grade inflammatory state and has been associated with behavioral and cognitive alterations. Importantly, maternal environmental insults can adversely impact subsequent offspring behavior and have been linked with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AHDH). It is unknown if maternal obesity significantly alters offspring sociability, a key ASD feature, and if altering maternal diet will provide an efficacious intervention paradigm for behavioral deficits. Here we investigated the impact of maternal high fat diet (HFD) and maternal dietary intervention during lactation on offspring behavior and brain inflammation in mice. We found that maternal HFD increased anxiety and decreased sociability in female offspring. Additionally, female offspring from HFD-fed dams also exhibited increased brain IL-1β and TNFα and microglial activation. Importantly, maternal dietary intervention during lactation was sufficient to alleviate social deficits and brain inflammation. Maternal obesity during gestation alone was sufficient to increase hyperactivity in male offspring, a phenotype that was not ameliorated by dietary intervention. These data suggest that maternal HFD acts as a prenatal/perinatal insult that significantly impacts offspring behavior and inflammation and that dietary intervention during lactation may be an easily translatable, efficacious intervention to offset some of these manifestations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number156
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 12 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Chris Fulcher for technical support. Funding sources for JDF: Mayo Foundation, GHR Foundation, Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic Gerstner Family Career Development Award. Funding sources for SSK: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Mental Health (NIH/NIMH) R03 MH103632. Funding sources for DAF: NIH/NIMH R00 MH091238 and R01 MH096773.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Kang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  • ADHD
  • ASD
  • Behavior
  • Dietary intervention
  • Maternal obesity
  • Neuroinflammation


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