The Impact of Maternal Health and Diet on Development of Fetal Metabolic Systems

  • Grove, Kevin (PI)
  • Friedman, Jacob (PI)
  • Aagaard-Tillery, Kjersti Marie (PI)
  • Powers, Alvin (PI)
  • Thornburg, Kent (CoPI)
  • Grove, Kevin (CoPI)
  • Kievit, Paul (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The incidence of preventable metabolic diseases in children has increased markedly over the past 2 decades. Currently, there is little information to determine the underlying causes or whether therapeutic or dietary interventions might be successful at preventing or reducing metabolic health risks in children from obese pregnancy. These studies will use a nonhuman primate (NHP) model to investigate the impact of poor maternal metabolic health and diet on the development of metabolic systems in the developing fetus, as well as its postpartum growth, development, and susceptibility to diet induced obesity and diabetes. For these studies, breeding NHPs will be chronically maintained on a diet high in fats and calories (HFD). The NHP is a critical model as it shares developmental features similar to human fetuses, including placental function, brain, and pancreas development. This proposal will focus on the placenta, pancreas, liver and muscle as these form the core metabolic systems that are critical for normal regulation of body weight and glucose homeostasis. The hypothesis is that abnormalities beginning with placental dysfunction (i.e., blood flow, cytokine production and nutrient delivery) directly impact the development of all metabolic systems in the offspring that contribute to life-long risk for metabolic disease. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that supplementation with agents that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation will prevent or attenuate the structural, metabolic, and molecular disturbances observed during pregnancy while on a HFD, and will prevent the abnormal development of metabolic systems in primate offspring. These studies will determine if a complete dietary switch from the HFD to a low fat diet just prior to pregnancy can reduce or prevent complications in fetal development. It will also be determined if dietary supplements with either fish oil or resveratrol, to prevent inflammation, oxidative stress, will provide similar protection. These studies will identify the risks and complications in the developing fetus associated with poor maternal metabolic health and diet. Furthermore, these studies will test dietary supplements/interventions that can be quickly translated to the clinic that mav help prevent or reduce metabolic diseases in children. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Poor maternal health and nutrition are associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases in children. However, the underlying complications and mechanisms that lead to the increase in obesity and diabetes in children is poorly understood. The NHP is a critical model to identify these mechanisms because of the similarities in development, as well as structure and function of metabolic systems
Effective start/end date9/25/107/31/20


  • National Institutes of Health: $1,533,370.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,651,416.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,585,560.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,595,849.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,679,349.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,635,211.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $1,501,805.00


  • Medicine(all)


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