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Front. Hum. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00514

Maternal Adiposity Influences Neonatal Brain Functional Connectivity

 Andrew P. Salzwedel1, Wei Gao1*, Aline Andres2, Thomas Badger2, Charles Glasier3, Raghu Ramakrishnaiah3,  Amy Rowell3 and  Xiawei Ou3*
  • 1Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, United States
  • 2Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, United States
  • 3University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States

The neural mechanisms associated with obesity have been extensively studied, but the impact of maternal obesity on fetal and neonatal brain development remains poorly understood. In this study of full-term neonates, we aimed to detect potential neonatal functional connectivity alterations associated with maternal adiposity, quantified via body-mass-index (BMI) and body-fat-mass (BFM) percentage, based on seed-based and graph theoretical analysis using resting-state fMRI data. Our results revealed significant neonatal functional connectivity alterations in all four functional domains that are implicated in adult obesity: sensory cue processing, reward processing, cognitive control, and motor control. Moreover, some of the detected areas showing regional functional connectivity alterations also showed global degree and efficiency differences. These findings provide important clues to the potential neural basis for cognitive and mental health development in offspring of obese mothers and may lead to the derivation of imaging-based biomarkers for the early identification of risks for timely intervention.

Keywords: Brain Development, functional connectivity, maternal obesity, neonatal offspring, Resting-state fMRI

Received: 07 Aug 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Hubert Preissl, Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases (IDM), Germany

Reviewed by:

Mahdi Mahmoudzadeh, University of Picardie Jules Verne, France
Lili He, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Salzwedel, Gao, Andres, Badger, Glasier, Ramakrishnaiah, Rowell and Ou. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Wei Gao, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, 90048, California, United States, Wei.Gao@cshs.org
Dr. Xiawei Ou, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, 72205, Arkansas, United States, ouxiawei@uams.edu