Anti-Diabetic Medication Can Prevent Long-Term Effects of Maternal Obesity

In a study presented February 11, 2012 at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting ™, in Dallas, Texas, researchers reported findings that show that short therapy with the anti-diabetic medication Pioglitazone can prevent the long-term effects of maternal obesity on offspring. This study, “Pioglitazone Therapy in Offspring Exposed to Maternal Obesity,” is the first step toward the long-term goal of preventing metabolic syndrome and obesity in children secondary to maternal obesity. The data proposes a potential role for drugs that activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in the prevention of metabolic syndrome in adult offspring of obese mothers. "Obesity in children, which is on the rise, predisposes them to lifelong diseases such as diabetes, high lipid levels, hypertension, and cardiac diseases," said Dr. Egle Bytautiene, with The University of Texas Medical Branch, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Galveston, Texas, and one of the study's authors. "A large part of obesity in children is programmed during pregnancy and our study shows that a drug used to treat diabetes in adults can prevent the long-term effects of maternal obesity on the offspring, even when used for a short period of time after birth." Dr. Bytautiene and her colleagues placed mice on a high-fat diet for three months prior to, and during pregnancy. The resulting pups were weaned to a regular diet. Pups were randomly selected to receive Pioglitazone or a placebo. Treatment was given once daily from 10 to 12 weeks of age. Immediately before and after the treatment period, the offspring were weighed, their visceral adipose tissue was evaluated using computed-tomography, blood was collected for fasting glucose and triglyceride analysis, and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests were performed.
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