New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that a protein called SIRT1 responds to excess fat calories in pregnancy by rewriting the histone code leading to infants with fatty-livers and eventual obesity
If you are overweight and pregnant, your baby isn't destined to a life of obesity after all, according to a new research report published online in The FASEB Journal. In the report, a team of U.S. scientists show that modifying fat intake during pregnancy to a moderate level is enough to benefit the child regardless of the mother's size. Specifically, they found that a protein called "SIRT1" rewrites a developing fetus' histone code, which affects his or her "epigenetic likelihood" of being overweight or obese throughout his or her lifetime.
"We are finding that the cycle of obesity likely begins in the womb, however, we are also finding that obesity does not necessarily beget obesity," said Kjersti M. Aagaard, M.D., Ph.D., study author from the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "A diet laden with fat changes the molecular machinery which chemically modifies the structure of the developing infant's genetic material. These commonly called 'histone code' changes are rewritten-at least in part-by SIRT1, which in turn, alters key regulators of fat and glucose metabolism in the infant. It is our hope that these early steps will in turn break the cycle of obesity in the generations to come."