Early life nutrition is important in the regulation of metabolism in adulthood. We studied the effects of different fatty acid composition diets on adiposity measures, glucose tolerance, and peripheral glucocorticoid (GC) metabolism in overfed neonatal rats. Rat litters were adjusted to a litter size of three (small litters (SLs)) or ten (normal litters (NLs)) on postnatal day 3 to induce overfeeding or normal feeding respectively. After weaning, SL and NL rats were fed a omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) diet (14% calories as fat, soybean oil) or high-saturated fatty acid (high-fat; 31% calories as fat, lard) diet until postnatal week 16 respectively. SL rats were also divided into the third group fed a omega 3 PUFA diet (14% calories as fat, fish oil). A high-fat diet induced earlier and/or more pronounced weight gain, hyperphagia, glucose intolerance, and hyperlipidemia in SL rats compared with NL rats. In addition, a high-fat diet increased 11 beta-hsd1 (Hsd11b1) mRNA expression and activity in the retroperitoneal adipose tissue of both litter groups compared with standard chow counterparts, whereas high-fat feeding increased hepatic 11 beta-hsd1 mRNA expression and activity only in SL rats. SL and a high-fat diet exhibited significant interactions in both retroperitoneal adipose tissue and hepatic 11 beta-HSD1 activity. Dietary omega 3 PUFA offered protection against glucose intolerance and elevated GC exposure in the retroperitoneal adipose tissue and liver of SL rats. Taken together, the results suggest that dietary fatty acid composition in the post-sucking period may interact with neonatal feeding and codetermine metabolic alterations in adulthood. Journal of Endocrinology (2012) 215, 119-127
2012. Vol. 215, no 1, 119-127 p.