Evaluation of the epigenome, microbiome, and metabolome dynamics and their interaction with the adiposity increase in the maternal-infant axis

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally and presents a significant public health challenge, accompanied by a substantial economic burden for its treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2020, approximately 39 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese. The causes of childhood obesity are multifaceted, involving a complex interplay of genetics, environmental and developmental factors, and the gut microbiota. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that only around 20% of obesity risk can be attributed to genetic factors.

The “Developmental Origins of Health and Disease” hypothesis posits that the intrauterine environment plays a crucial role in influencing fetal development and future disease susceptibility. One of the mechanisms through which in utero exposures may induce metabolic changes is via epigenetic modifications, which, in turn, are influenced by environmental factors related to the mother during pregnancy, such as nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle choices.”

This project’s goal is to characterize epigenetic changes within the maternal-infant axis that may be associated with the onset of obesity and metabolic disorders in early infancy. Identifying these alterations will enable the development of personalized preventive strategies against obesity and its associated comorbidities. To achieve this objective, we are employing a combination of various omics techniques, including epigenomics, metabolomics, and metagenomics.