This study investigates whether improved quality of nutrients during early postnatal life has effects on adult metabolic profile and body composition in a murine model of nutritional programming. Male offspring of C57Bl/6j dams received a diet containing 21% energy (En%) as fat of either 100% vegetable oils [control (CTRL)] or 80% vegetable oils/20% tuna fish oil [rich in n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCP)] from postnatal day (PN) 2 to 42. Subsequently, mice of both experimental groups were switched to a western style diet (WSD; 21 En% fat, high saturated fatty acid [FA] content, and cholesterol) until dissection at PN98. Body composition was analyzed by dual X-ray absorptiometry during the WSD challenge. Results showed that a n-3 LCP-rich diet during postnatal life not only reduced fat accumulation by ∼30% during the WSD challenge from PN42 to 98 (p < 0.001) but also led to a healthier plasma lipid profile, healthier plasma glucose homeostasis, and less hypertrophic adipocytes compared with CTRL. This study shows that postnatal nutrition has programming effects on adult body composition and metabolic homeostasis. In addition, it emphasizes that moderate alterations in fat quality during early postnatal life considerably affect adult metabolic health.

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Journal Pediatric Research: international journal of human developmental biology
Oosting, A, Kegler, D, Boehm, G, van der Beek, E.M, Jansen, H.T, & van de Heijning, B.J.M. (2010). N-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids prevent excessive fat deposition in adulthood in a mouse model of postnatal nutritional programming. Pediatric Research: international journal of human developmental biology, 68(6), 494–499. doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181f74940