Developmental Programming by Maternal Insulin Resistance: Hyperinsulinemia, Glucose Intolerance, and Dysregulated Lipid Metabolism in Male Offspring of Insulin-Resistant Mice

  1. Mary-Elizabeth Patti1
  1. 1Division of Integrative Physiology and Metabolism, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA
  2. 2Metabolon, Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC
  3. 3Lipomics, Inc., West Sacramento, CA
  1. Corresponding author: Mary-Elizabeth Patti, mary.elizabeth.patti{at}


Maternal obesity and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are associated with obesity and diabetes risk in offspring. We tested whether maternal insulin resistance, which frequently coexists with GDM and obesity, could independently contribute to dysregulation of offspring metabolism. Female mice haploinsufficient for insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS1-het) are hyperinsulinemic and insulin resistant during pregnancy, despite normal plasma glucose and body weight, and thus serve as a model of isolated maternal insulin resistance. Wild-type (WT) offspring of IRS1-het dams insulin resistance-exposed [IR-exposed] were compared with WT offspring of WT dams. Despite no differences in adiposity, male IR-exposed pups were glucose intolerant (P = 0.04) and hyperinsulinemic (1.3-fold increase, P = 0.02) by 1 month of age and developed progressive fasting hyperglycemia. Moreover, male IR-exposed pups challenged with high-fat diet exhibited insulin resistance. Liver lipidomic analysis of 3-week-old IR-exposed males revealed increases in the 16:1n7 fraction of several lipid classes, suggesting increased Scd1 activity. By 6 months of age, IR-exposed males had increased lipid accumulation in liver as well as increased plasma refed fatty acids, consistent with disrupted lipid metabolism. Our results indicate that isolated maternal insulin resistance, even in the absence of hyperglycemia or obesity, can promote metabolic perturbations in male offspring.


  • Received April 11, 2013.
  • Accepted October 30, 2013.

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