Fat witness young diabetics?



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Fat witness young diabetics? A study investigated the relationship between diabetes and parents' eating habits in a series of experiments.

(2010-10-21) High-fat fathers' diets can cause diabetes in offspring. This is the conclusion reached by the researchers led by Margaret J. Morris from the University of New South Wales, Sydney in a study now published in the journal "Nature". So far, the experts assumed that only the eating habits of the mothers had an impact on the metabolism of the children. Animal experiments with rats are now proving that there is also a dependency on the father's eating behavior and that environmental factors can also be genetically inherited.

High-fat diet increases descendants' risk of diabetes As part of their study, the Australian scientists gave male test rats very high-fat food over a long period of time, so that they became overweight and showed signs of diabetes type II disease. After the corresponding rats had mated with healthy female animals, the offspring was then extensively examined. The scientists limited their studies to female offspring in order to exclude gender-specific influencing factors.

The research team led by Margaret J. Morris found that although the animals had a normal body weight in childhood, they later had a tendency to diabetes and a changed gene regulation in the production of insulin in the pancreas. Accordingly, the fat-fed male animals, unusually often, produced female offspring that bore pathological insulin-producing cells. In most female offspring, the typical metabolic disorders of type 2 diabetes were found in adulthood, the scientists explained in their current publication.

Epigenetic effect - environmental influences are inherited The interesting result of the researchers caused a sensation internationally among the experts, because the so-called epigenetic effect was scientifically proven here for the first time also in relation to the eating habits of the fathers. The tendency of the female offspring to type II diabetes found in the animal experiment is therefore based on inheritance pathways beyond the original genetic disposition of the parents. The genes obviously changed subsequently in the course of eating habits.

According to the researchers, the epigentic effect takes effect here. Epigenetics offers an explanatory model for the influence of the environment on our genes. The experts assume that the so-called epigenome, which is also transferable to the next generation, changes much more easily than the genome in the course of environmental influences. This is also a reason why, for example, people with identical genes differ significantly from one another. Depending on the environmental influences, chemical groups are attached to certain DNA building blocks, which can regulate, activate or even shut down genes.

The effects of nutrition have so far only been investigated for mothers. The influence of the mother on the child through the epigentic effect has long been scientifically clarified. Studies have shown that male mice are more and more diabetic or develop insulin resistance if their mothers have a high-fat diet. Some of the resistances continued to propagate into the third generation. In addition, another study has shown that the coat color of offspring of nutrient-rich mothers changes and this is transmitted to the second generation or to the grandchildren. The disposition through the lifestyle and the eating habits of the fathers, however, was controversial so far. The aim of the study was to find out whether the father's eating habits also have an impact on the health of the next generation. However, since only the female descendants were examined, no statements can yet be made about the influences of eating habits and lifestyle on the male offspring.

Altered sperm due to high-fat diet The Australian researchers assume that the epigentic effect of spermatogenesis was brought to bear in the current study. The fat consumption of the father animals changed the sperm, according to the scientists. Evidence suggests an epigenetic change in which not the DNA itself has changed, but only the expression of the genes and consequently the epigenome. According to the experts, the high percentage of body fat in male rats influences the temperature in the testes and the metabolic disorders of the rat fathers result in by-products that directly damage the germ cells. Therefore, a high-fat diet of the fathers leads to damage to the sperm, which also results in diabetes symptoms in the daughters in adulthood. In this way, certain environmental factors are passed on via the genome and the lifestyle of the fathers also has a significant influence on possible diseases of the children. Therefore, future generations will still feel the consequences of today's lifestyle on their own bodies.

Type II diabetes is on the rise worldwide
In type 2 diabetes, different combinations of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, relative insulin deficiency and secretion disorders occur, whereby the main cause of the disease is usually caused by overeating, insulin requirements that increase over the course of life. There is also a clear link between obesity (next to smoking, the greatest health risk in western industrialized countries) and the risk of diabetes. With over 90 percent of cases, type II diabetes is by far the most common clinical picture among diabetes diseases. According to estimates by the health authorities and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in Germany, more than six million people are affected, and around 260 million worldwide.

The number is steadily increasing and current estimates already assume that in 2030 around 400 million people worldwide will suffer from type II diabetes. The fact that the eating habits and lifestyle of the parents have a significant influence on later illnesses of the children could be of acute importance for the prevention work. Because parents who eat unhealthy not only endanger their own health but also that of later offspring. Conversely, a healthy lifestyle strengthens the health of young people. In general, the influence of environmental factors on the genetic disposition of certain diseases should no longer be underestimated, as should the current publication "Chronic high-fat diet in fathers programs b-cell dysfunction in female rat offspring" by Margaret J. Morris and colleagues in the specialist magazine "Nature" shows. (Fp)

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Image: Sigrid Rossmann / pixelio.de

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