Nutritional Research and Fetal Programming: Parental Nutrition Influences the Structure and Function of the Organs

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Marcia Barbosa Aguila; Fernanda Ornellas & Carlos Alberto Mandarim-de-Lacerda


Rodents are animals extensively used in biomedical and nutrition research, a necessary step before the research in humans. The composition and type of administration of the experimental diets are relevant and should be thought, considering each type of animal used in the research. It is particularly important to consider, among others, the metabolic differences between species and food needs in macro- and micronutrients to avoid possible bias. The American Institute of Nutrition (AIN) made recommendations for rodents, adapted to the period of growth (AIN-93G), which are pivotal in fetal programming studies. The experiments can be compared among different studies and better translated into humans, considering these limitations in the nutrition of parents and offspring. The review addresses different compositions of experimental food for rodents during development with the ability to induce fetal programming in the offspring and chronic diseases in adulthood due to the nutrition of the mother and father. The 'developmental origins of health and disease' (DOHaD) concept due to maternal nutrition is commented considering the protein restriction, vitamin D restriction, obesity, and intake of fructose or fish-oil. The 'paternal origins of health and disease transmission' (POHaD), because of the nutritional state of the father, were also analyzed in the review, primarily considering the obesity of the father. The review proposes some diet compositions to experimental research considering varied nutritional situations, hoping to assist young researchers or researches not familiar with expe- rimental diet manipulations in the elaboration of the projects.

KEY WORDS: Protein restriction; High-fat diet; High-fructose diet; Vitamin D restriction; Fish oil-rich diet.

How to cite this article

AGUILA, M. B.; ORNELLAS, F. & MANDARIM-DE-LACERDA, C. A Nutritional research and fetal programming: parental nutrition influences the structure and function of the organs. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):327-334, 2021.