A study has found that high-fat diet and obesity during pregnancy compromises the blood-forming stem cell system in the liver of the developing baby which is responsible for creating and sustaining lifelong blood and immune system function.
Researchers had earlier developed a mouse model that closely mimics the high-fat, high-simple-sugar diet currently consumed by many young women of child-bearing age. Subsequent research demonstrated that maternal overnutrition in mice significantly reduced the size of the fetal liver. They discovered the complex changes that occur as a result of maternal high-fat diet put significant constraints on the growth of blood stem cells in the fetal liver ultimately compromising the developing immune system.
The findings may provide broad context for the rise in immune disease and allergic disposition in children.