Parents transmit diabetes to unsuspecting children

August 21st, 2008 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) If kids and young adults become diabetic, blame it on parents, a new study suggests, ascribing it to an unusual form of inheritance in the US. Researchers looked at the effects of a diet high in saturated fat on mice and their offspring. Expectedly, they found that a high-fat diet induced type 2 diabetes in the adult mice which was reversed by halting the diet.

However, if female mice continued a high-fat diet during pregnancy and/or suckling, their offspring also had a greater frequency of diabetes development, though the offspring were given a moderate-fat diet.

These mice were then mated with healthy mice, and the next generation offspring (grandchildren of the original high-fat fed generation) could develop diabetes as well.

In effect, exposing a foetal mouse to high levels of saturated fats can cause it and its offspring to acquire diabetes, even if the mouse goes off the high-fat diet and its young are never directly exposed.

The study used mice but earlier research has shown that this kind of inheritance is at work in humans. For example, there is an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in children born of malnourished mothers.

These findings are scheduled for publication in the September issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.

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