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Father's diet linked to metabolic disease

Man's stomach

Recent research in mice has found a link between a father's diet and the health of offspring, revealing new ways to approach the treatment of metabolic diseases.

Metabolic syndrome occurs when normal chemical reactions in the body are disrupted, (for example, when the liver or pancreas do not function properly), resulting in effects such as high blood pressure that can in turn lead to heart conditions or stroke, among others.

The syndrome, which is becoming  increasingly common, is typically linked to factors such as inactivity or being overweight, although it can also be genetic.

A study, led by Helmholtz Centre Munich and the German Center for Diabetes Research, both Germany, and also involving EARA member the University of Turku, Finland, analysed a database of 3,000 families to see whether the syndrome could be linked to a parents’ diet and weight. This showed that the weight of fathers could influence the weight of their children, independent of genetics or the environment.

The researchers then tested if this link also happened in male mice that were fed a high-fat diet, and via IVF, found that this also led to offspring that were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

This was due to the father’s mitochondrial DNA making it into the embryos, which then affected the health and development of the offspring, by changing the activity of certain genes (it was once assumed only the mother’s mitochondrial DNA was inherited).

Raffaele Teperino, at Helmholtz, said: “Our results suggest that preventive health care for men wishing to become fathers should receive more attention and that programs should be developed for this purpose, especially with regard to diet.” 

1 Comment

han gu
han gu
Jun 26

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