Now this is just a rat study, but it does expand on our understanding of what influences the health of an unborn child. In this study, two groups of male rats were used, one group was obese, diabetic and ate a high-fat diet, while the other group was lean, healthy, and ate a normal diet. Both groups then mated with lean female rats, and their offspring were examined by the researchers.
The results revealed that offspring born from obese fathers on a high-fat diet had poor ability to respond to a glucose challenge, even when consuming a healthy diet.
Most of the negative effects of the father's health were based on gene modification. In fact, the researchers identified 5108 genes that were differentially expressed due to the high-fat diet! The top 5
were related to genes related to mitochondrial and cellular response to stress, telomerase signalling, cell death and survival, cell cycle, cellular growth and proliferation, and cancer. In addition the offspring of the obese rats showed gene expression changes in pancreatic islets, which are
responsible for producing insulin to control blood glucose and fat tissue.
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Source: Paternal high-fat diet consumption induces common changes in the transcriptomes of retroperitoneal adipose and pancreatic islet tissues in female rat offspring
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