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We examine the effects of maternal diet on cardiac development in utero, and thereupon its effects on adult cardiac development and disease. The insights gained from our studies thus far have reframed understanding of dietary regulation of cardiac development in utero; for example, we have found that the type of monosaccharide ingested is a major determinant of foetal cardiac size. We will now explore the long-term effects of in utero cardiac thickening secondary to ingestion of fructose or sucrose-enriched diets.

With A/Prof Kim Bell-Anderson (Charles Perkins Centre), we have uncovered striking cardiac enlargement in in vivo models of pregnancy during ingestion of diets enriched with sucrose or fructose (compared to glucose and normal chow). To further explore this, we are performing RNA seq in these in vivo models.

Going forward, our aims are to:

  1. Identify key mechanistic pathways underlying this phenotype.
  2. Determine the relationship to subsequent cardiac development and disease.
  3. Mechanistically determine the relationship of novel pathways to cardiac thickening and enlargement and target them therapeutically.

Outcomes: Completely reframe understanding of the relationship of maternal diet to cardiac thickening and subsequent disease.

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