Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 495–510 | Cite as

Epigenetic effects of the pregnancy Mediterranean diet adherence on the offspring metabolic syndrome markers

  • David Lorite Mingot
  • Eva Gesteiro
  • Sara Bastida
  • Francisco J. Sánchez-Muniz
Mini Review


Metabolic syndrome (MS) has a multifactorial and not yet fully clarified origin. Insulin resistance is a key element that connects all the accepted components of MS (obesity, dyslipemia, high blood pressure, and hyperglycemia). There is strong evidence that epigenetic changes during fetal development are key factors in the development of MS. These changes are induced by maternal nutrition, among different factors, affecting the intrauterine environment. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be a healthy eating pattern that protects against the development of MS in adults. Similarly, the Mediterranean diet could have a similar action during pregnancy, protecting the fetus against the development of MS throughout life. This review assembles studies carried out, both in animals and humans, on the epigenetic modifications associated with the consumption, during pregnancy, of Mediterranean diet main components. The relationship between these modifications and the occurrence of factors involved in development of MS is also explained. In addition, the results of our group relating adherence to the Mediterranean diet with MS markers are discussed. The paper ends suggesting future actuation lines in order to increase knowledge on Mediterranean diet adherence as a prevention tool of MS development.


Dyslipemia Epigenetics Fetal development Hypertension Hyperglycemia Insulin resistance Mediterranean diet adherence Metabolic syndrome Obesity Pregnancy diet 



Alpha-linolenic acid


Cardiovascular disease


11-β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-2


Docosahexaenoic acid


Dinucleotide methyltransferase


Free fatty acids


Cholesterol transported by high-density lipoproteins


Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance




Histone deacetylase


Insulin-like growth factor


Insulin resistance


Restricted intrauterine growth


Mediterranean diet adherence


Metabolic syndrome


Monounsaturated fatty acids


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator


Retinoid X receptor α


Polyunsaturated fatty acids






Short-chain fatty acids


Saturated fatty acid content


Type 2 diabetes mellitus




Toll-like receptors



The paper has been partially supported by the Project AGL 2014-53207-C2-2R.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© University of Navarra 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lorite Mingot
    • 1
  • Eva Gesteiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sara Bastida
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Sánchez-Muniz
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología I (Nutrición), Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.ImFINE Research Group, Departamento de Salud y Rendimiento Humano, Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte-INEFUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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