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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: August 2012

12 - Adipose tissue development and its potential contribution to later obesity

from Section 3 - Long-term consequences

Summary

The early life environment may persistently influence the development of adipose tissue, thereby predisposing the offspring to obesity. This chapter reviews the limited information available, which suggests that the early life nutritional environment can influence adipocyte biology and influence the risk of obesity in later life. The maternal nutritional environment can have a major impact on long-term metabolic health of the offspring. More information from animal models is available in relation to the influence of maternal nutrient restriction in early and mid-gestation in sheep, which also increases glucocorticoid receptor and 11ßHSD1 expression and reduces expression of 11ßHSD2 in ovine perirenal adipose tissue at term, changes that persist up to six months of age. Both animal experiments and human epidemiological data suggest that there is a substantial role for early life experiences in the programming of adipose tissue function and distribution.

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