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M J Devlin, C Grasemann, A M Cloutier, L Louis, C Alm, M R Palmert, and M L Bouxsein

Maternal high-fat (HF) diet can alter offspring metabolism via perinatal developmental programming. This study tests the hypothesis that maternal HF diet also induces perinatal programming of offspring bone mass and strength. We compared skeletal acquisition in pups from C57Bl/6J mice fed HF or normal diet from preconception through lactation. Three-week-old male and female pups from HF (HF-N) and normal mothers (N-N) were weaned onto normal diet. Outcomes at 14 and 26 weeks of age included body mass, body composition, whole-body bone mineral content (WBBMC) via peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, femoral cortical and trabecular architecture via microcomputed tomography, and glucose tolerance. Female HF-N had normal body mass and glucose tolerance, with lower body fat (%) but higher serum leptin at 14 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). WBBMC was 12% lower at 14 weeks and 5% lower at 26 weeks, but trabecular bone volume fraction was 20% higher at 14 weeks in female HF-N vs N-N (P<0.05 for all). Male HF-N had normal body mass and mildly impaired glucose tolerance, with lower body fat (%) at 14 weeks and lower serum leptin at 26 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). Serum insulin was higher at 14 weeks and lower at 26 weeks in HF-N vs N-N (P<0.05). Trabecular BV/TV was 34% higher and cortical bone area was 6% higher at 14 weeks vs N-N (P<0.05 for both). These data suggest that maternal HF diet has complex effects on offspring bone, supporting the hypothesis that maternal diet alters postnatal skeletal homeostasis.