Influence of maternal obesity on postpartum mental and metabolic health
Switzerland (Swimsa) - University of Zurich, Zurich
Institute of Veterinary Physiology
Thomas Lutz
Christina Neuner Boyle, Thomas Lutz
-8 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Studies in humans and rodents have established that maternal obesity has severe consequences for the health of the offspring; how this pathophysiological state affects the short- and long-term mental and metabolic health of the mothers is remarkably less understood. Notably, women who are obese during pregnancy are at a two-fold higher risk for developing postpartum depression. Maternal obesity also increases the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia during pregnancy, which predispose the mother to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. To understand how maternal obesity makes the maternal brain and body more vulnerable to these disease states, we harnessed a polygenic rat model of obesity, which powerfully mimics human obesity, and developed a novel model of maternal obesity.
What is the aim of the project?
In this project we would like to understand how maternal obesity has an influence on the mother’s body after giving birth. This is analyzed in metabolic hormones, lipid profile but as well in tissue of fat, liver and brain.
What techniques and methods are used?
The project will involve the processing of various tissues collected from lactating rat dams that were selectively bred based on their polygenic predisposition to develop obesity. Obesity-prone and -resistant rat dams were maintained on standard chow or a palatable high fat diet during pregnancy and the lactation period. Blood will be analyzed for levels of metabolic hormones (insulin, leptin) and lipid profile. Fat and liver tissue will be analyzed histologically and for alterations in gene expression. When time allows, brains will be analyzed using immunofluorescence to determine central leptin sensitivity in specific neuronal populations. Body weight gain, food intake, and behavioral profiles of the dams were previously analyzed, and will be correlated to the pathophysiological endpoints derived from the maternal tissues. - In vivo experiments (feeding tests; energy expenditure; maternal behavior) - Blood and tissue analyses - Immunofluorescence
What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
- Participation in animal experiment - Participation in laboratory analyses - Evaluation of results - Presentation of results - Journal club presentation - Being present during working hours - active cooperation with the lab workers - Documentation of lab work
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Journal club presentations Student and task specific teaching
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation
- The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Good knowledge of English Motivation Interest in biomedical and basis research
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Unless training has already been formally achieved, work with animals can only be done under supervision
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Students in biomedical fields
- 1. Kumpulainen; S.M.; Girchenko; P.; Lahti-Pulkkinen; M.; Reynolds; R.M.; Tuovinen; S.; Pesonen; A.K.; Heinonen; K.; Kajantie; E.; Villa; P.M.; Hamalainen; E.; Laivuori; H.; Raikkonen; K.: Maternal early pregnancy obesity and depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy. Psychol Med; 1-11 (2018). doi:10.1017/S0033291717003889
- 2. Kim; S.Y.; Dietz; P.M.; England; L.; Morrow; B.; Callaghan; W.M.: Trends in pre-pregnancy obesity in nine states; 1993-2003. Obesity (Silver Spring) 15(4); 986-993 (2007). doi:10.1038/oby.2007.621
- 3. Chen; C.; Xu; X.; Yan; Y.: Estimated global overweight and obesity burden in pregnant women based on panel data model. PLoS One 13(8); e0202183 (2018). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202183