Commun Biol 4 (1) 14 [2021-01-04; online 2021-01-04]
With the increasing prevalence of obesity in women of reproductive age, there is an urgent need to understand the metabolic impact on the fetus. Sex-related susceptibility to liver diseases has been demonstrated but the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here we report that maternal obesity impacts lipid metabolism differently in female and male offspring. Males, but not females, gained more weight and had impaired insulin sensitivity when born from obese mothers compared to control. Although lipid mass was similar in the livers of female and male offspring, sex-specific modifications in the composition of fatty acids, triglycerides and phospholipids was observed. These overall changes could be linked to sex-specific regulation of genes controlling metabolic pathways. Our findings revised the current assumption that sex-dependent susceptibility to metabolic disorders is caused by sex-specific postnatal regulation and instead we provide molecular evidence supporting in utero metabolic adaptations in the offspring of obese mothers.