Maternal exposure to a Western-style diet causes differences in microbiota composition and gene expression in the intestine of suckling mouse pups



During the last few decades, the long-lasting consequences of nutritional programming during the early phase of life have become increasingly evident, but the effects of maternal nutrition on the developing intestine are currently still relatively underexplored. In this study, we investigated in mice the effects of a maternal Western-style (WS) high fat/cholesterol diet, given during the perinatal period, on gene expression and microbiota composition of two-week-old offspring. Microarray analysis revealed that a perinatal WS diet caused significant changes in gene expression in the small intestine and colon of the suckling offspring. A strong sexually dimorphic effect was observed in the affected genes. However, pathway analysis of the differentially expressed genes displayed that in both sexes metabolic and immune functions were strongly affected. Integration of the microbiota and gene expression data applying a multivariate correlation analyses revealed that Bacteroidaceae, Porphyromonadaceae and Lachnospiraceae were the bacterial families that most strongly correlated with gene expression in the colon and not with the bacterial families displaying the most pronounced change due to perinatal exposure to a WS diet. Amongst the genes demonstrating a strong correlation with one or more bacterial families were genes of key importance for intestinal development or functioning (i.e., Pitx2 and Ace2). In conclusion, our data demonstrate a strong programming effect of a maternal WS diet on the development of the intestine in the offspring.
Date made available22 Aug 2016
PublisherWageningen University


  • Mus musculus

Accession numbers

  • GSE72705
  • PRJNA294701

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