Maternal Consumption of a Western-type Diet During Gestation and Lactation Increases Depression-Related Behavior and Novelty Reactivity but not Body Weight in Rat Offspring




Lane, Michelle A.
Farber, Christopher
Renteria, Karisa
Ritter, Jordan
Muraida, JD
Rivers, Carley
Koh, Gar Yee
Zhu, Jie

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Adolescents and young adults are at the highest risk for major depression. In fact, according to the CDC, roughly 43 % of high school students reported a depressive episode in 2021 alone. Death by suicide, an outcome of untreated depression, is the leading cause of death in children aged 10-14 and the 3rd leading cause of death in ages 15-24. The Western dietary pattern contains large amounts of processed foods, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, sugar-sweetened beverages, salt, red and processed meats. As a result, over 70% of Americans consume excess oils, fats, and sugars including pregnant women. The detrimental effects of the Western diet on physical health are well-established. Recently, the Western diet has been shown to adversely affect mental health. Specifically, the children of women with Western dietary patterns during pregnancy were shown to exhibit almost twice the rate of depression compared to children of mothers with healthy dietary patterns. Western dietary patterns have also been associated with cognitive deficits. The objective of this study was to determine if maternal consumption of a Western-type diet during versus after neurodevelopment increases behaviors related to depression, anxiety, and cognition in a rat model.



Diets, Gestation, Lactation, Body weight


Lane, M., Farber, C., Rentaria, K., Ritter, J., Muraida, JD, Rivers, C., Koh, G. Y., & Zhu, J. (2023). Maternal consumption of a western-type diet during gestation and lactation increases depression-related behavior and novelty reactivity but not body weight in rat offspring. Poster presented at the Health Scholar Showcase, Translational Health Research Center, San Marcos, Texas.


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