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Cambridge Immunology Network



Nutritional programming of health across the life course.

It is well establish that growth and nutrition during fetal and neonatal life can have a long-term effect on an individual’s health-span and lifespan. Initial focus was directed towards the importance of diet during critical periods of development on metabolic health including risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. However more recent evidence from humans and animal models have revealed that such “nutritional programming” can also influence non-metabolic factors such as our immune health. Our recent findings have demonstrated that maternal diet and early growth patterns can influence ageing of the immune system including effects on thymic growth and involution. These effects may contribute to the programming effects of maternal diet on offspring lifespan.


Key publications: 

Tarry-Adkins JL, Aiken CE & Ozanne SE (2019) Neonatal, infant and childhood growth following metformin versus insulin treatment for gestational diabetes: A Systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine 16 (8): e1002848

Tarry-Adkins JL, Aiken CL, Ashmore TJ, Fernandez-Twinn DS, Chen JH & Ozanne SE (2019) A suboptimal maternal diet combined with accelerated postnatal growth results in an altered aging profile in the thymus of male rats FASEB J 33: 239-253

Beeson JH, Blackmore HL, Carr SK, Dearden L, Duque- Guimarães DE, Kusinski LC, Pantaleão LC, Pinnock AG, Aiken CE, Giussani DA, Fernandez-Twinn DS & Ozanne SE (2018) Maternal exercise intervention in obese pregnancy improves the cardiovascular health of the adult male offspring. Molecular Metabolism 16:35-44

Loche E, Blackmore HL, Carpenter AAM, Beeson JH, Pinnock A, Ashmore TJ, Aiken CE, de Almeida-Faria J, Schoonejans J, Giussani DA, Fernandez-Twinn DS & Ozanne SE (2018) Maternal diet-induced obesity programmes cardiac dysfunction in male mice independently of post-weaning diet. Cardiovascular Res. 114: 1372-1374

Holland ML, Lowe R, Caton PW, Gemma C, Carbajosa G, Danson AF, Carpenter AA, Loche E, Ozanne SE & Rakyan VK (2016) Early life nutrition modulates the epigenetic state of specific rDNA genetic variants in mice. Science 353:495-8

Alfaradhi MZ, Fernandez-Twinn DS, Martin-Gronert MS, Musial B, Fowden AL & Ozanne SE (2014) Oxidative stress and altered lipid homeostasis in the programming of offspring fatty liver by maternal obesity Am. J. Physiol. 307:R26-34

Tarry-Adkins JL, Martin-Gronert MA, Fernandez-Twinn DS, Hargreaves I, Alfaradhi MA, Land JM, Aiken CE & Ozanne SE (2013) Poor maternal nutrition followed by accelerated postnatal growth leads to  alterations in DNA damage and repair, oxidative and nitrosative stress and oxidative defense capacity in rat heart. FASEB J 27:379-90

Blackmore HL, Piekarz AV, Fernandez-Twinn DS, Mercer JR, Figg N, Bennett M & Ozanne SE (2012) Poor maternal nutrition programs a pro-atherosclerotic phenotype in ApoE-/- mice Clinical Science 123: 251-7

Chen JH, Tarry-Adkins JL, Heppolette CA, Palmer DB & Ozanne SE (2010) Early life nutrition influences thymic growth in male mice that may be related to the regulation of longevity. Clinical Science 118: 429-38

Ozanne SE & Hales C.N (2004) Lifespan: catch-up growth and obesity in male mice. Nature: 427: 411-412

Professor Susan  Ozanne
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy