Food and Behaviour Research

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Maternal emulsifier consumption programs offspring metabolic and neuropsychological health in mice

Milà-Guasch M, Ramírez S, Llana S, Fos-Domènech J, Dropmann L, Pozo M, Eyre E, Gómez-Valadés A, Obri A, Haddad-Tóvolli R, Claret M (2023) PLoS Biolology Aug 24;21(8) doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3002171 

Web URL: Read this on PubMed


Modern lifestyle is associated with a major consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) due to their practicality and palatability. The ingestion of emulsifiers, a main additive in UPFs, has been related to gut inflammation, microbiota dysbiosis, adiposity, and obesity.

Maternal unbalanced nutritional habits during embryonic and perinatal stages perturb offspring's long-term metabolic health, thus increasing obesity and associated comorbidity risk. However, whether maternal emulsifier consumption influences developmental programming in the offspring remains unknown.

Here, we show that, in mice, maternal consumption of dietary emulsifiers (1% carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and 1% P80 in drinking water), during gestation and lactation, perturbs the development of hypothalamic energy balance regulation centers of the progeny, leads to metabolic impairments, cognition deficits, and induces anxiety-like traits in a sex-specific manner.

Our findings support the notion that maternal consumption of emulsifiers, common additives of UPFs, causes mild metabolic and neuropsychological malprogramming in the progeny. Our data call for nutritional advice during gestation.