Obesity Disrupts Rhythmic Clock Gene Expression in Maternal Adipose Tissue during Rat Pregnancy

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Obesity during pregnancy causes numerous maternal and fetal health complications, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity has previously been linked to disruption of the intrinsic adipose clock gene network that is crucial for normal metabolic function. This adipose clock also undergoes major change as part of the maternal metabolic adaptation to pregnancy, but whether this is affected by maternal obesity is unknown. Consequently, in this study we tested the hypothesis that obesity disturbs rhythmic gene expression in maternal adipose tissue across pregnancy. A rat model of maternal obesity was established by cafeteria (CAF) feeding, and adipose expression of clock genes and associated nuclear receptors (Ppars and Pgc1α) was measured across days 15-16 and 21-22 of gestation (term = 23 days). CAF feeding suppressed the mesor and/or amplitude of adipose tissue clock genes (most notably Bmal1, Per2, and Rev-erbα) relative to chow-fed controls (CON) across both days of gestation. On day 15, the CAF diet also induced adipose Pparα, Pparδ, and Pgc1α rhythmicity but repressed that of Pparγ, while expression of Pparα, Pparδ, and Pgc1α was reduced at select time points. CAF mothers were hyperleptinemic at both stages of gestation, and at day 21 this effect was time-of-day dependent. Fetal plasma leptin exhibited clear rhythmicity, albeit with low amplitude, but interestingly these levels were unaffected by CAF feeding. Our data show that maternal obesity disrupts rhythmic expression of clock and metabolic genes in maternal adipose tissue and leads to maternal but not fetal hyperleptinemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


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