Inheritable testicular metabolic memory of high-fat diet causes transgenerational sperm defects in mice

Luís Crisóstomo, Ivana Jarak, Luís P. Rato, João F. Raposo, Rachel L. Batterham, Pedro F. Oliveira, Marco G. Alves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


The consumption of energy-dense diets has contributed to an increase in the prevalence of obesity and its comorbidities worldwide. The adoption of unhealthy feeding habits often occurs at early age, prompting the early onset of metabolic disease with unknown consequences for reproductive function later in life. Recently, evidence has emerged regarding the intergenerational and transgenerational effects of high-fat diets (HFD) on sperm parameters and testicular metabolism. Hereby, we study the impact of high-fat feeding male mice (F0) on the testicular metabolome and function of their sons (F1) and grandsons (F2). Testicular content of metabolites related to insulin resistance, cell membrane remodeling, nutritional support and antioxidative stress (leucine, acetate, glycine, glutamine, inosine) were altered in sons and grandsons of mice fed with HFD, comparing to descendants of chow-fed mice. Sperm counts were lower in the grandsons of mice fed with HFD, even if transient. Sperm quality was correlated to testicular metabolite content in all generations. Principal Component Analysis of sperm parameters and testicular metabolites revealed an HFD-related phenotype, especially in the diet-challenged generation and their grandsons. Ancestral HFD, even if transient, causes transgenerational “inherited metabolic memory” in the testicular tissue, characterized by changes in testicular metabolome and function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9444
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2021


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