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Obesity induced by cafeteria diet disrupts fertility in the rat by affecting multiple ovarian targets

Authors: Bazzano, M.V. et al.

Obesity constitutes a health problem of increasing worldwide prevalence. Among the health detriments caused by obesity, reproduction is disrupted. However, the mechanisms involved in this disruption are not fully understood. Animals fed a cafeteria diet constitute the model for the study of obesity that most closely reflects Western diet habits. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether a cafeteria diet affects ovarian function and to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms involved. For that purpose, 22-day-old female Wistar rats were fed ad libitum with a standard diet (control group; n=20) or cafeteria diet (CAF group; n=20). The cafeteria diet induced obesity and hyperglycaemia, without altering serum triglycerides, cholesterol or C-reactive protein concentrations. This diet also altered ovarian function: the rats showed prolonged dioestrous phases, decreased serum oestradiol concentrations and increased number of antral atretic follicles. Moreover, follicular cysts were detected in the CAF group, concomitantly with a decrease in the number of anti-Müllerian hormone immunoreactive pre-antral follicles and COX-2-positive antral and pre-ovulatory follicles. The authors conclude that a cafeteria diet reduces ovarian reserve, induces the presence
of follicular cysts and disturbs the ovulatory process, leading to the delayed pregnancy observed
in these animals.

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