Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Health Studies: Pre-clinical Health Science and University Honors
OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
generalized anxiety disorder, maternal high-fat diet, rodent, non-human primate, developmental origins of health and disease, epigenetics
Generalized anxiety has become more prevalent among children and adolescents in the United States which impacts their health and livelihood. Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is purported to play a role in cognitive development and mental health during childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease theory suggests maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy influences transgenerational susceptibility, onset, and severity of disease through epigenetic mechanisms that then impact the child’s overall health, including cognitive development and mental health later in life. A literature review of rodents and non-human primate studies was conducted to explore the association between fetal exposure to a maternal high-fat diet and the development and severity of anxiety among offspring. Perturbations in the serotonergic neurotransmitter system were observed among offspring exposed to a maternal high-fat diet that altered the expression of Tryptophan hydroxylase 2, serotonin transporter, and serotonin 1A receptor subtype. In contrast to offspring of mothers fed a standard chow diet, those born to a mother fed a high-fat diet experienced early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, impaired negative feedback mechanisms, increased expression of glucocorticoid receptors in the limbic system, and dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory gene expression. These studies suggest that fetal exposure to a maternal high-fat diet increases the risk for the development of generalized anxiety disorders among children and adolescents. To break this transgenerational cycle of cognitive impairment, public health policies and interventions must be implemented to enhance maternal dietary patterns and improve the health of future generations.
In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/ This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).
Cardoso, Esmeralda H., "The Impact of Maternal Nutrition on the Development and Severity of Generalized Anxiety Disorders in Rodent and Non-Human Primate Studies" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1233.