A high-fat diet during pregnancy may impair the development of fetal blood stem cells, according to a new study in monkeys.
The findings, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggest that a mother’s diet during pregnancy could influence her child’s risk of developing certain blood disorders later in life.
Previous studies in mice have shown that a high-fat diet during pregnancy can lead to obesity and diabetes in offspring. However, the effects of a high-fat diet on blood stem cells have not been well-studied.
In the new study, researchers fed pregnant monkeys either a normal diet or a high-fat diet. They found that pregnant monkeys who ate a high-fat diet were more likely to have offspring with reduced numbers of blood stem cells.
Specifically, the high-fat diet appeared to impair the development of a type of blood stem cell known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). HSCs give rise to all other blood cells, and they are essential for maintaining a healthy blood supply.
The findings suggest that a high-fat diet during pregnancy could increase the risk of blood disorders in offspring. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings in humans.
The health of a pregnant woman and her developing fetus are inextricably linked. What a woman eats during pregnancy can have a profound impact on her baby’s health, both in the short and long terms.
A new study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health has found that a high-fat diet during pregnancy can have negative consequences for the developing fetus, specifically in the form of impaired blood stem cells.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature, used pregnant non-human primates as subjects. The animals were divided into two groups: one received a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates, while the other group received a control diet that was lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates.
After birth, the researchers examined the blood stem cells of the fetuses. They found that those from the high-fat group had impaired development and function compared to those from the control group.
What’s more, the effects of the high-fat diet were found to be reversible: when the pregnant animals were switched to the control diet, their fetus’s blood stem cells returned to a healthy state.
This study provides critical new insights into how diet can influence the developing fetus. It also underscores the importance of making healthy choices during pregnancy, not just for the mother’s sake but for the sake of her child as well.