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Effects of a ketogenic diet during pregnancy on embryonic growth in the mouse

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-13-109
  • Research Article


Background The increasing use of the ketogenic diet (KD), particularly by women of child-bearing age, raises a question about its suitability during gestation. To date, no studies have thoroughly investigated the direct implications of a gestational ketogenic diet on embryonic development. Methods To fill this knowledge gap we imaged CD-1 mouse embryos whose mothers were fed either a Standard Diet (SD) or a KD 30 days prior to, as well as during gestation. Images were collected at embryonic days (E) 13.5 using Optical Projection Tomography (OPT) and at E17.5 using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Results An anatomical comparison of the SD and KD embryos revealed that at E13.5 the average KD embryo was volumetrically larger, possessed a relatively larger heart but smaller brain, and had a smaller pharynx, cervical spinal cord, hypothalamus, midbrain, and pons, compared with the average SD embryo. At E17.5 the KD embryo was found to be volumetrically smaller with a relatively smaller heart and thymus, but with enlarged cervical spine, thalamus, midbrain and pons. Conclusion A ketogenic diet during gestation results in alterations in embryonic organ growth. Such alterations may be associated with organ dysfunction and potentially behavioral changes in postnatal life.

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