There has been a marked increase in the number of babies born by elective CS (Caesarean section). Following CS, the lack of normal stimuli that occur at birth alters the thermogeneic response, but any effects on hepatic metabolism have not been identified. In the present study, we compared the effect of delivery on hepatic metabolism in piglets, born either by CS or VD (vaginal delivery) and fed by TPN (total parenteral nutrition), by measuring lipid metabolism and enzyme activity coupled with metabolomic and genomic approaches. Hepatic lipid in the CS piglets at 7 days post-partum was in excess of 5 mg/g of liver consistent with hepatic steatosis, whereas in the VD piglets the amount of lipid was markedly lower (3 mg/g of liver) and below the threshold for a diagnosis of steatosis. Metabolomic analysis indicated that CS resulted in higher hepatic glycerol and lower glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase activity, suggesting that CS causes a decrease in hepatic gluconeogenesis from glycerol. CS also resulted in altered cholesterol handling and gene expression, despite the same dietary intake for 7 days post-partum. Furthermore, the CS piglets had a lower expression of interferon-responsive genes, but a higher expression of markers of immature hepatocytes. In conclusion, the results suggest that VD promotes normal liver maturation and hepatic metabolism, thereby reducing the accumulation of hepatic lipid.

You do not currently have access to this content.