It is known that for couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology, male obesity is associated with reduced pregnancy rates and increased pregnancy loss.
Nicole McPherson (nee Palmer) PhD candidate from the School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health at the University of Adelaide and recipient of a Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health Scholarship top-up award (Principal Supervisor Dr Michelle Lane), has just published her research on the topic of paternal metabolic health and pregnancy outcomes in the August edition of PLOS One.
Using a mouse model of obesity, Nicole and co-investigators have demonstrated that combined diet and exercise interventions in the obese father, which either reduces adiposity or improves their metabolic state at the time of conception, improves subsequent embryo, pregnancy and fetal health. Previous studies have only investigated the effects on hormone profiles, sperm function and sexual dysfunction. The study showed that diet induced obesity influenced the cellular distribution of E-cadherin, a key protein in the developing embryo.
Nicole plans to extend her intervention studies in the human to determine if similar improvements can occur.