Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 103–108

Maternal micronutrient restriction programs the body adiposity, adipocyte function and lipid metabolism in offspring: A review


  • K. Rajender Rao
    • Division of Endocrinology and MetabolismNational Institute of Nutrition
    • National Center for Laboratory Animal SciencesNational Institute of Nutrition
  • I. J. N. Padmavathi
    • Division of Endocrinology and MetabolismNational Institute of Nutrition
    • Division of Endocrinology and MetabolismNational Institute of Nutrition

DOI: 10.1007/s11154-012-9211-y

Cite this article as:
Rao, K.R., Padmavathi, I.J.N. & Raghunath, M. Rev Endocr Metab Disord (2012) 13: 103. doi:10.1007/s11154-012-9211-y


Fetal growth is a complex process which depends both on the genetic makeup and intrauterine environment. Maternal nutrition during pregnancy is an important determinant of fetal growth. Adequate nutrient supply is required during pregnancy and lactation for the support of fetal/infant growth and development. Macro- and micronutrients are both important to sustain pregnancy and for appropriate growth of the fetus. While macronutrients provide energy and proteins for fetal growth, micronutrients play a major role in the metabolism of macronutrients, structural and cellular metabolism of the fetus. Discrepancies in maternal diet at different stages of foetal growth / offspring development can have pronounced influences on the health and well-being of the offspring. Indeed intrauterine growth restriction induced by nutrient insult can irreversibly modulate the endocrine/metabolic status of the fetus that leads to the development of adiposity and insulin resistance in its later life. Understanding the role of micronutrients during the development of fetus will provide insights into the probable underlying / associated mechanisms in the metabolic pathways of endocrine related complications. Keeping in view the modernized lifestyle and food habits that lead to the development of adiposity and world burden of obesity, this review focuses mainly on the role of maternal micronutrients in the foetal origins of adiposity.


Fetal programmingAdiposityMicronutrientsMaternal undernutritionBody fat%Adiposity index

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012