Palou M. (1), Priego T. (1), Romero M. (2), Szostaczuk N. (1), Konieczna J. (1), Cabrer C. (1), Remesar X. (2), Palou A. (1), Pico C. (1)

Int J Obes (Lond). 2015;39(2):339-45.

(1) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology (Nutrigenomics), University of the Balearic Islands and CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and (2) Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Faculty of Biology, University of Barcelona and CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Barcelona, Spain.


BACKGROUND: Maternal calorie restriction during pregnancy programs offspring for later overweight and metabolic disturbances. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is responsible for non-shivering thermogenesis and has recently emerged as a very likely target for human obesity therapy.
OBJECTIVE: Here we aimed to assess whether the detrimental effects of undernutrition during gestation could be related to impaired thermogenic capacity in BAT and to investigate the potential mechanisms involved.
METHODS: Offspring of control and 20% calorie-restricted rats (days 1-12 of pregnancy) (CR) were studied at the age of 25 days. Protein levels of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrOH); mRNA levels of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) and deiodinase iodothyronine type II (DIO2) in BAT; and blood parameters including thyroid hormones, were determined. The response to 24-h cold exposure was also studied by measuring body temperature changes over time, and final BAT UCP1 levels.
RESULTS: Compared with controls, CR animals displayed in BAT lower UCP1 and TyrOH protein levels and lower LPL and CPT1 mRNA levels; they also showed lower triiodothyronine (T3) plasma levels. CR males, but not females, revealed lower DIO2 mRNA levels than controls. When exposed to cold, CR rats experienced a transient decline in body temperature, but the values were reestablished after 24 h, despite having lower UCP1 levels than controls.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that BAT thermogenic capacity is diminished in CR animals, involving impaired BAT sympathetic innervation and thyroid hormone signaling. These alterations make animals more sensitive to cold and may contribute to long-term outcomes of gestational calorie restriction in promoting obesity and related metabolic alterations.

doi: 10.1038/ijo.2014.56.

Event date: 03/04/2014

Publication date: 25/05/2015