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Prenatal Dexamethasone Programs Expression of Genes in Liver and Adipose Tissue and Increased Hepatic Lipid Accumulation But Not Obesity on a High-Fat Diet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1587
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


The association between low birth weight and cardiovascular disease is amplified by the development of obesity. We explored the effects of postnatal high-fat (HF) feeding in dexamethasone (Dex)-programmed rats, in which prenatal glucocorticoid overexposure is associated with reduced birth weight and adult glucose intolerance. Male Wistar rats exposed to Dex or vehicle (Veh) during the last week of gestation were weaned onto HF or control diets for 6 months. Dex-exposed animals were of lower birth weight and showed catch-up growth by 7 wk. There were no differences in obesity or hyperinsulinaemia between Dex-HF and Veh-HF animals. However, Dex-HF animals had increased hepatic triglyceride content compared with Veh-HF animals. mRNA transcript profiles in adipose tissue revealed depot-specific changes in the expression of genes involved in fatty acid esterification and triglyceride synthesis and storage with prenatal Dex exposure. Thus, antenatal glucocorticoid overexposure in rats does not confer increased sensitivity to HF diet-induced obesity, but increases susceptibility to fatty liver. This may be due to depot-specific-programmed alterations in fat metabolism in adipose tissue.

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