Contribution of maternal diabetes to visceral fat accumulation in offspring
Epidemiological studies have previously demonstrated the contribution of a genetic background of diabetes to the development of obesity. The goal of this study was to explore the contribution of parental family history of diabetes to visceral fat area. Diabetes and obesity share many overlapping risk factors and genetic architecture, with visceral fat being responsible for many of the comorbidities associated with obesity. This large study, conducted in China, recruited 1875 people, aged 20-78, with normal glucose tolerance. The recruited individuals then had an assessment of their visceral fat accumulation using MRI.
The study found that a maternal family history of diabetes was associated with visceral fat accumulation, independently in both genders. Maternal transmission had a pronounced effect on obesity and related cardiovascular risk factors, however this study does not elucidate the underlying mechanism of this visceral fat accumulation. Despite the lack of understanding of the mechanism, this data can be used to inform public health policies when trying to predict which groups will be most at risk of obesity and its related comorbidities.