Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Maternal overnutrition during sensitive periods of early development increases the risk for obesity and neuropsychiatric disorders later in life. However, it still remains unclear during which phases of early development the offspring is more vulnerable. Here, we investigate the effects of maternal high-fat diet (MHFD) at different stages of pre- or postnatal development and characterize the behavioral, neurochemical and metabolic phenotypes. We observe that MHFD exposure at pre-conception has no deleterious effects on the behavioral and metabolic state of the offspring. Late gestational HFD exposure leads to more prominent addictive-like behaviors with reduced striatal dopamine levels compared to early gestational HFD. Conversely, offspring exposed to MHFD during lactation display the metabolic syndrome and schizophrenia-like phenotype. The latter, is manifested by impaired sensory motor gating, and latent inhibition as well as enhanced sensitivity to amphetamine. These effects are accompanied by higher striatal dopamine levels. Together, our data suggest that MHFD exposure during specific stages of development leads to distinct neuropathological alterations that determine the severity and nature of poor health outcome in adulthood, which may provide insight in identifying effective strategies for early intervention.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date