Maternal high-fat diet is associated with impaired fetal lung development

Reina S. Mayor, Katelyn E. Finch, Jordan Zehr, Eugenia Morselli, Michael D. Neinast, Aaron P. Frank, Lisa D. Hahner, Jason Wang, Dinesh Rakheja, Biff F Palmer, Charles R Rosenfeld, Rashmin C Savani, Deborah J. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Maternal nutrition has a profound long-term impact on infant health. Poor maternal nutrition influences placental development and fetal growth, resulting in low birth weight, which is strongly associated with the risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and type 2 diabetes, later in life. Few studies have delineated the mechanisms by which maternal nutrition affects fetal lung development. Here, we report that maternal exposure to a diet high in fat (HFD) causes placental inflammation, resulting in placental insufficiency, fetal growth restriction (FGR), and inhibition of fetal lung development. Notably, pre- and postnatal exposure to maternal HFD also results in persistent alveolar simplification in the postnatal period. Our novel findings provide a strong association between maternal diet and fetal lung development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L360-L368
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 18 2015


  • Chorioamnionitis
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Placental inflammation
  • Respiratory distress syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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