Supramolecular structure of dietary fat in early life modulates expression of markers for mitochondrial content and capacity in adipose tissue of adult mice

Andrea Kodde*, Eline M. van der Beek, Esther Phielix, Eefje Engels, Lidewij Schipper, Annemarie Oosting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Previous studies have shown that early life nutrition can modulate the development of white adipose tissue and thereby affect the risk on obesity and metabolic disease later in life. For instance, postnatal feeding with a concept infant milk formula with large, phospholipid coated lipid droplets (Concept, Nuturis (R)), resulted in reduced adiposity in adult mice. The present study investigated whether differences in cell energy metabolism, using markers of mitochondrial content and capacity, may contribute to the observed effects.

Methods: C57Bl/6j male mice were exposed to a rodent diet containing the Concept (Concept) or standard (CTRL) infant milk formula from postnatal day 16 until postnatal day 42, followed by a western style diet challenge until postnatal day 98. Markers for mitochondrial content and capacity were analyzed in retroperitoneal white adipose tissue and gene expression of metabolic markers was measured in both retroperitoneal white adipose tissue and muscle tibialis (M. tibialis) at postnatal day 98.

Results: In retroperitoneal white adipose tissue, the Concept group showed higher citrate synthase activity and mitochondrial DNA expression compared to the CTRL group (p <0.05). In addition, protein expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway/cascade was increased in the Concept group compared to CTRL (p <0.05). In the M. tibialis, gene expression of uncoupling protein 3 was higher in the Concept compared to the CTRL group. Other gene and protein expression markers for mitochondrial oxidative capacity were not different between groups.

Conclusion: Postnatal feeding with large, phospholipid coated lipid droplets generating a different supramolecular structure of dietary lipids enhances adult gene and protein expression of specific mitochondrial oxidative capacity markers, indicative of increased substrate oxidation in white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. Although functional mitochondrial capacity was not measured, these results may suggest that adaptations in mitochondrial function via early feeding with a more physiological structure of dietary lipids, could underlie the observed beneficial effects on later life adiposity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Number of pages13
JournalNutrition & Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2017


  • Postnatal programming
  • White adipose tissue
  • Mitochondrial content
  • Oxidative capacity
  • Lipid droplet structure
  • RISK

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