Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Martius) supplementation in the diet during gestation and lactation attenuates liver steatosis in dams and protects offspring

  • Priscila O. Barbosa
  • Melina O. de Souza
  • Deuziane P. D. Paiva
  • Marcelo E. Silva
  • Wanderson G. Lima
  • Giovanna Bermano
  • Renata N. FreitasEmail author
Original Contribution



Maternal high-fat diet affects offspring and can induce metabolic disorders such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). New therapeutic strategies are being investigated as way to prevent or attenuate this condition. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of açaí supplementation in the maternal high-fat diet on dams and offspring lipid metabolism.


Female Fisher rats were divided in four groups and fed a control diet (C), a high-fat diet (HF), an açaí supplemented diet (CA) and a high-fat diet supplemented with açaí (HFA) 2 weeks before mating, during gestation and lactation. The effects of açaí were evaluated in the male offspring after birth (P1) and weaning (P21).


HFA reduced relative liver weight, fat and cholesterol liver content in dams and improved liver steatosis as confirmed by histological analyses. HFA increased serum cholesterol and expression of Srebpf1 and Fasn genes. In offspring, HFA decreased relative liver weight, and serum cholesterol only in P21. An increase in the Sirt1, Srebpf1 and Fasn genes expression was observed in P21.


These results suggest that açaí supplementation may attenuate NAFLD in dams and protect offspring from the detrimental effects of lipid excess from a maternal high-fat diet.


Açaí Euterpe oleracea Martius High-fat maternal diet Metabolic programming Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 



The authors are grateful to the Jair Pastor Mota and Laboratory of Experimental Nutrition for technical support and supply of animals, Dr Daniela Pala (UFOP, Brazil), Dr Carla Teixeira Silva (UFOP, Brazil), MSc. Miliane Fagundes (UFOP, Brazil), MSc. Ana Maria Viana (UFOP, Brazil), MSc. Talita Magalhães (UFOP, Brazil), MSc. Raiana Souza e Silva (UFOP, Brazil), Maraisa Porfirio (UFOP, Brazil) and Daniel de Souza Paula (UFOP, Brazil) for helping with the animal handling. We thank Professor Dr Maria Terezinha Bahia (UFOP, Brazil) who provided laboratory reagents to perform biochemistry analysis, and Dr Gemma Barron (RGU, UK) for help with gene expression and western blotting experiments.


This research was supported by Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP, Minas Gerais, Brazil), Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG, Minas Gerais, Brazil), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) from Brazilian government (P.O.B. scholarship) and Robert Gordon University (Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nucleus of Research in Biological Sciences (NUPEB)Federal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrasil
  2. 2.School of NutritionFederal University of Ouro PretoOuro PretoBrasil
  3. 3.Centre for Obesity Research and Education, School of Pharmacy and Life SciencesRobert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK

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