Currently, vitamin D (VD) deficiency during pregnancy is widespread globally, causing unfavorable pregnancy outcomes for both mothers and infants for a longer time than expected, based on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) theory. As VD plays a key role in maintaining normal glucose and lipid metabolism, maternal VD deficiency may lead to obesity and other obesity-related diseases among offspring later in life. This review mainly focuses on the effect of maternal VD deficiency on offspring lipid metabolism, reviewing previous clinical and animal studies to determine the effects of maternal VD deficit on offspring obesity and potential mechanisms involved in the progression of offspring obesity. Emerging clinical evidence shows that a low VD level may lead to abnormal growth (either growth restriction or largeness for gestational age) and lipid and glucose metabolism disorders in offspring. Here, we also outline the link between maternal VD deficiency and life-long offspring effects, including the disorder of adipogenesis, the secretion of adipocytokines (including leptin, resistin, and adiponectin), activated systemic inflammation, increased oxidative reactions in adipose tissue, insulin resistance, and abnormal intestinal gut microbiota. Thus, there is an urgent need to take active steps to address maternal VD deficiency to relieve the global burden of obesity.
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