Obesity and oocyte quality

Rebecca L. Robker, Robert J. Norman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Introduction Obesity has become one of the most urgent nutritional and health issues of our time. Globally, the number of obese people is at a historical high with the incidence continuing to rise. Obesity is prevalent in young women [1] and latest predictions indicate that in the USA and UK 40–50% of women will be obese by 2030 [2]. A neglected complication of obesity is female infertility as well as increased risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS), a prevalent endocrine disorder which manifests with both metabolic symptoms including insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, as well as reproductive complications such as anovulation. Entering pregnancy in an obese condition predisposes both mother and fetus to significant health problems that can complicate an already risky pregnancy. It is increasingly evident that obesity is a self-perpetuating transgenerational disease that is transmitted from mothers to the next generation. While obesity alters body metabolism and leads to consequences in multiple aspects of the reproductive system, this chapter will summarize the available data from experimental animal models and clinical studies showing an impact on oocyte developmental potential. This rapidly accumulating evidence, particularly from animal models, demonstrates that obesity affects oocyte maturation and the earliest stages of embryo development; alterations that have lasting consequences on the metabolism and developmental programming of the progeny.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiology and Pathology of the Oocyte
Subtitle of host publicationRole in Fertility, Medicine, and Nuclear Reprogramming, Second Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781139135030
ISBN (Print)9781107021907
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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