Maternal obesity has been reported to be related to the neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring. The current study aims to examine the roles of diet on the gut microbiota and validating the microbiota-metabolites-brain axis as a major mechanism associated with cognitive and social behavioral changes in the offspring of maternal obesity. Here, a cross-sectional study on 778 children aged 7-14 years in two cities of China indicates that maternal obesity may lead to cognitive and social impairments. The animal research indicates that maternal obesity in mice disrupts cognitive and social behaviors and alters the microbiota composition in the offspring, which are prevented by a high-dietary fiber diet in either dams or offspring. Co-housing and feces microbiota transplantation experiments reveal a causal relationship between the microbiome- and the behavioral changes. Moreover, treatment of the microbial metabolites short-chain fatty acids exhibits a similar beneficial effect on alleviating the behavioral deficits in offspring. Together, our study purports the microbiota-metabolites-brain axis as a mechanism that could enable therapeutic strategies against maternal obesity-induced cognitive and social dysfunctions.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience