Roles of One-carbon Metabolism in Preimplantation Period

Laboratory of Animal Physiology and Functional Anatomy, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
Journal of Reproduction and Development (Impact Factor: 1.52). 01/2012; 58(1):38-43. DOI: 10.1262/jrd.2011-002
Source: PubMed


One-carbon metabolism (OCM) can be seen as integrated metabolic pathways centered on the metabolism of two nutritional substances, folate and methionine. Mammalian oocytes and preimplantation embryos express almost all enzymes that participate in OCM, suggesting that they can independently metabolize OCM nutrients. A deficiency or excess of OCM nutrients and their metabolites during in vitro culture affects preimplantation development of mammalian embryos. Recent in vivo studies have demonstrated that specific OCM dietary interventions during the periconceptional (mainly oocyte growth and preimplantation) period can cause epigenetic alterations in DNA of offspring and program the long-term consequences in their health in adulthood. The epigenetic processes are likely to be implicated in the effects of OCM nutrients; however, understanding their effects at the level of specific genes and their implications in assisted reproductive technology will require further investigations.

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