High Fat Food during Pregnancy can boost Breast Cancer Risk in Offspring

Maternal diet can have long lasting effects of an offspring’s health

Eating Fatty Food During Pregnancy Linked To Cancer In OffspringA study published in Nature Communications has linked fatty diets during pregnancy to breast cancer in offspring. It’s a risk mothers should consider when craving for a burger, muffins, potato chips, cakes and pies or meat-based dishes. The high content of fat and excess estrogens have been linked by experts to breast cancer in the next generations. ”


Maternal exposures to environmental factors during pregnancy influence the risk of many chronic adult-onset diseases in the offspring. Here we investigate whether feeding pregnant rats a high-fat (HF)- or ethinyl-oestradiol (EE2)-supplemented diet affects carcinogen-induced mammary cancer risk in daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters. We show that mammary tumourigenesis is higher in daughters and granddaughters of HF rat dams and in daughters and great-granddaughters of EE2 rat dams. Outcross experiments suggest that the increase in mammary cancer risk is transmitted to HF granddaughters equally through the female or male germ lines, but it is only transmitted to EE2 granddaughters through the female germ line. The effects of maternal EE2 exposure on offspring’s mammary cancer risk are associated with changes in the DNA methylation machinery and methylation patterns in mammary tissue of all three EE2 generations. We conclude that dietary and oestrogenic exposures in pregnancy increase breast cancer risk in multiple generations of offspring, possibly through epigenetic means.

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