Roles of One-carbon Metabolism in Preimplantation Period
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: Excessive exposure to alcohol prenatally has a myriad of detrimental effects on the health and well-being of the offspring. It is unknown whether chronic low-moderate exposure of alcohol prenatally has similar and lasting effects on the adult offspring's health. Using our recently developed Sprague-Dawley rat model of 6% chronic prenatal ethanol exposure, this study aimed to determine if this modest level of exposure adversely affects glucose homeostasis in male and female offspring aged up to eight months. Plasma glucose concentrations were measured in late fetal and postnatal life. The pancreas of 30 day old offspring was analysed for β-cell mass. Glucose handling and insulin action was measured at four months using an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test and insulin challenge, respectively. Body composition and metabolic gene expression were measured at eight months. Despite normoglycaemia in ethanol consuming dams, ethanol-exposed fetuses were hypoglycaemic at embryonic day 20. Ethanol-exposed offspring were normoglycaemic and normoinsulinaemic under basal fasting conditions and had normal pancreatic β-cell mass at postnatal day 30. However, during a glucose tolerance test, male ethanol-exposed offspring were hyperinsulinaemic with increased first phase insulin secretion. Female ethanol-exposed offspring displayed enhanced glucose clearance during an insulin challenge. Body composition and hepatic, muscle and adipose tissue metabolic gene expression levels at eight months were not altered by prenatal ethanol exposure. Low-moderate chronic prenatal ethanol exposure has subtle, sex specific effects on glucose homeostasis in the young adult rat. As aging is associated with glucose dysregulation, further studies will clarify the long lasting effects of prenatal ethanol exposure.PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e59718. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Folate plays a key role in the interactions between nutrition, fetal programming, and epigenomics. Maternal folate status influences DNA methylation, inheritance of the agouti phenotype, expression of imprinting genes, and the effects of mycotoxin FB1 on heterochromatin assembly in rodent offspring. Deficiency in folate and other methyl donors increases birth defects and produces visceral manifestations of fetal programming, including liver and heart steatosis, through imbalanced methylation and acetylation of PGC1-α and decreased SIRT1 expression, and produces persistent cognitive and learning disabilities through impaired plasticity and hippocampal atrophy. Maternal folate supplementation also produces long-term epigenomic effects in offspring, some beneficial and others negative. Deciphering these mechanisms will help understanding the discordances between experimental models and population studies of folate deficiency and supplementation.Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 03/2013; · 8.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alcohol consumption is a common social practice among women of childbearing age. With 50% of pregnancies being unplanned, many embryos are exposed to alcohol prior to pregnancy recognition and formation of the placenta. The effects of periconceptional (PC) alcohol exposure on the placenta are unknown. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to alcohol (12.5% v/v ad libitum) from 4 days prior to 4 days after conception and effects on placental growth, morphology and gene/protein expression examined at embryonic day (E) 20. PC ethanol (EtOH)-exposed fetuses were growth restricted and their placental/body weight ratio and placental cross-sectional area were increased. This was associated with an increase in cross-sectional area of the junctional zone and glycogen cells, especially in PC EtOH-exposed placentas from female fetuses. Junctional Glut1 and Igf2 mRNA levels were increased. Labyrinth Igf1 mRNA levels were decreased in placentas from both sexes, but protein IGF1R levels were decreased in placentas from male fetuses only. Labyrinth mRNA levels of Slc38a2 were decreased and Vegfa were increased in placentas following PC EtOH-exposure but only placentas from female fetuses exhibited increased Kdr expression. Augmented expression of the protective enzyme 11βHsd2 was found in PC EtOH-exposed labyrinth. These observations are consistent with a stress response, apparent well beyond the period of EtOH-exposure and demonstrate that PC EtOH alters placental development in a sex specific manner. Public awareness should be increased to educate women about how excessive drinking even before falling pregnant may impact on placental development and fetal health.Placenta 11/2013; · 3.29 Impact Factor