We have previously described a theoretical model in humans, called "Similarities in the Inequalities", in which extremely unequal social backgrounds coexist in a complex scenario promoting similar health outcomes in adulthood. Based on the potential applicability of and to further explore the "similarities in the inequalities" phenomenon, this study used a rat model to investigate the effect of different nutritional backgrounds during gestation on the willingness of offspring to engage in physical activity in adulthood. Sprague-Dawley rats were time mated and randomly allocated to one of three dietary groups: Control (Adlib), receiving standard laboratory chow ad libitum; 50% food restricted (FR), receiving 50% of the ad libitum-fed dam's habitual intake; or high-fat diet (HF), receiving a diet containing 23% fat. The diets were provided from day 10 of pregnancy until weaning. Within 24 hours of birth, pups were cross-fostered to other dams, forming the following groups: Adlib_Adlib, FR_Adlib, and HF_Adlib. Maternal chow consumption and weight gain, and offspring birth weight, growth, physical activity (one week of free exercise in running wheels), abdominal adiposity and biochemical data were evaluated. Western blot was performed to assess D2 receptors in the dorsal striatum. The "similarities in the inequalities" effect was observed on birth weight (both FR and HF groups were smaller than the Adlib group at birth) and physical activity (both FR_Adlib and HF_Adlib groups were different from the Adlib_Adlib group, with less active males and more active females). Our findings contribute to the view that health inequalities in fetal life may program the health outcomes manifested in offspring adult life (such as altered physical activity and metabolic parameters), probably through different biological mechanisms.
Da Silva Cunha, F., Dalle Molle, R., Portella, A. K., Da Silva Benetti, C., Noschang, C., Goldani, M. Z., & Silveira, P. P. (2015). Both food restriction and high-fat diet during gestation induce low birth weight and altered physical activity in adult rat offspring: The “similarities in the inequalities” model. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118586