Chronic maternal dietary chromium restriction modulates visceral adiposity: probable underlying mechanisms.

Padmavathi IJ, Rao KR, Venu L, Ganeshan M, Kumar KA, Rao ChN, Harishankar N, Ismail A, Raghunath M.


Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.



We demonstrated previously that chronic maternal micronutrient restriction altered the body composition in rat offspring and may predispose offspring to adult-onset diseases. Chromium (Cr) regulates glucose and fat metabolism. The objective of this study is to determine the long-term effects of maternal Cr restriction on adipose tissue development and function in a rat model.


Female weanling WNIN rats received, ad libitum, a control diet or the same with 65% restriction of Cr (CrR) for 3 months and mated with control males. Some pregnant CrR mothers were rehabilitated from conception or parturition and their pups weaned to control diet. Whereas some CrR offspring were weaned to control diet, others continued on CrR diet. Various parameters were monitored in the offspring at three monthly intervals up to 15-18 months of age.


Maternal Cr restriction significantly increased body weight and fat percentage, especially the central adiposity in both male and female offspring. Further, the expression of leptin and 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 genes were significantly increased in CrR offspring of both the sexes. Adipocytokine levels were altered in plasma and adipose tissue; circulating triglyceride and FFA levels were increased, albeit in female offspring only. Rehabilitation regimes did not correct body adiposity but restored the circulating levels of lipids and adipocytokines.


Chronic maternal Cr restriction increased body adiposity probably due to increased stress and altered lipid metabolism in WNIN rat offspring, which may predispose them to obesity and associated diseases in later life.

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