Effects of pre- And postnatal protein restriction on maternal and offspring metabolism in the nonhuman primate

Melissa A. Kirigiti, Tim Frazee, Baylin Bennett, Anam Arik, Peter Blundell, Lindsay Bader, Jennifer Bagley, Antonio E. Frias, Elinor L. Sullivan, Charles T. Roberts, Paul Kievit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Women in low- and middle-income countries frequently consume a protein-deficient diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The effects of gestational malnutrition on fetal and early postnatal development can have lasting adverse effects on offspring metabolism. Expanding on previous studies in rodent models, we utilized a nonhuman primate model of gestational and early-life protein restriction (PR) to evaluate effects on the organ development and glucose metabolism of juvenile offspring. Offspring were born to dams that had consumed a control diet containing 26% protein or a PR diet containing 13% protein. Offspring were maintained on the PR diet and studied [body and serum measurements, intravenous glucose tolerance tests (ivGTTs), and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans] up to 7 mo of age, at which time tissues were collected for analysis. PR offspring had age-appropriate body weight and were euglycemic but exhibited elevated fasting insulin and reduced initial, but increased total, insulin secretion during an ivGTT at 6 mo of age. No changes were detected in pancreatic islets of PR juveniles; however, PR did induce changes, including reduced kidney size, and changes in liver, adipose tissue, and muscle gene expression in other peripheral organs. Serum osteocalcin was elevated and bone mineral content and density were reduced in PR juveniles, indicating a significant impact of PR on early postnatal bone development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R929-R939
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Insulin resistance
  • Macaques
  • Pancreas
  • Protein restriction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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