Diet during pregnancy has always been considered as a focal point, and moms-to-be are advised to eat wisely. Now, a new study conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University pinpoints the link between a mother’s nutrition habits and metabolism, and its impact on the growth of the child.
Previous studies have shown that babies from mothers who are obese or eat obesity-causing diets during pregnancy have a tendency to develop conditions such as obesity, hypertension and Type-2 diabetes as adults. Another study suggested that mother’s stress during pregnancy can up binge eating in kids in adulthood, while a diet of junk food and no fruits leads to delayed pregnancy.
What the study shows
The study, led by Jae W Lee, demonstrated that two neurons are the key to growth and metabolism — GHRH and AgRP — and are developmentally interconnected. Located in the hypothalamus region of the brain, GHRH or growth hormone-release hormone neurons orchestrate body growth while AgRP or Agouti-related peptide neurons stimulate feeding and suppress energy usage.
“For the first time, these findings prove the intimate relationship between GHRH and AgRP neurons in the developmental lineage. Further, the development of both neurons can be artificially preset in controlling postnatal growth,” Lee said. The study has appeared in the journal Nature Communications.