• Oxidative Stress in Early Life and Later Obesity Development

    Mal J Nutr 19(3): 383 – 399, 2013

    Oxidative Stress in Early Life and Later Obesity Development 
    Loy SL1, Sirajudeen KNS2& Hamid Jan JM 1*
    1 Nutrition Program, School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian 16150, Kelantan, Malaysia
    Department of Chemical Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian 16150, Kelantan, Malaysia


    Introduction: Critical time windows exert profound influences on foetal physiological and metabolic profiles, which predispose an individual to later diseases via a 'programming' effect. Obesity has been suggested to be 'programmed' during early life. Foetuses and infants who experience adverse growth are subjected to a higher risk of obesity. However, the key factors that link adverse foetal growth and obesity risk remain obscure. To date, there is considerable evidence showing that the overall balance between free radical damage and the antioxidative process being challenged occurs throughout gestation. With the view that pregnancy is a pro-inflammatory state confronted with enhanced oxidative stress, which possesses similar characteristics to obesity (a chronic inflammatory state with increased oxidative stress), oxidative stress is thus biologically plausibly be proposed as the underlying mechanism between this causal-disease relationship. Oxidative stress could act as a programming cue for the development of obesity by inducing complex functional and metabolic deregulations as well as inducing the alteration of the adipogenesis process. Thereby, oxidative stress promotes adipose tissue deposition from early life onwards. The enhancement of fat accumulation further exaggerates oxidative derangement and perpetuates the cycle of adiposity. This review focuses on the oxidative stress pathways in prenatal and early postnatal stages, from the aspects of various endogenous and exogenous oxidative insults. Because oxidative stress is a modifiable pathway, this modifiability suggests a potential therapeutic target to fight the obesity epidemic by understanding the causal factors of oxidant induction. 

    Keywords: Antioxidants, foetal growth, obesity, oxidative stress, pregnancy

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