Maternal obesity enhances oocyte chromosome abnormalities associated with aging

Yan Yun, Zijie Wei, Neil Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Obesity is increasing globally, and maternal obesity has adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes and the long-term health of offspring. Maternal obesity has been associated with pregnancy failure through impaired oogenesis and embryogenesis. However, whether maternal obesity causes chromosome abnormalities in oocytes has remained unclear. Here we show that chromosome abnormalities are increased in the oocytes of obese mice fed a high-fat diet and identify weakened sister-chromatid cohesion as the likely cause. Numbers of full-grown follicles retrieved from obese mice were the same as controls and the efficiency of in vitro oocyte maturation remained high. However, chromosome abnormalities presenting in both metaphase-I and metaphase-II were elevated, most prominently the premature separation of sister chromatids. Weakened sister-chromatid cohesion in oocytes from obese mice was manifested both as the terminalization of chiasmata in metaphase-I and as increased separation of sister centromeres in metaphase II. Obesity-associated abnormalities were elevated in older mice implying that maternal obesity exacerbates the deterioration of cohesion seen with advancing age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Aneuploidy
  • Chromosome
  • Cohesin
  • High-fat diet
  • Maternal age effect
  • Meiosis
  • Obesity
  • Oocyte
  • Oxidative damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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