Protein and folic acid content in the maternal diet determine lipid metabolism and response to high-fat feeding in rat progeny in an age-dependent manner.

Summary of "Protein and folic acid content in the maternal diet determine lipid metabolism and response to high-fat feeding in rat progeny in an age-dependent manner."

Maternal diet during gestation can exert a long-term effect on the progeny's health by programming their developmental scheme and metabolism. The aim of this study is to analyze the influence of maternal diet on lipid metabolism in 10- and 16-week-old rats. Pregnant dams were fed one of four diets: a normal protein and normal folic acid diet (NP-NF), a protein-restricted and normal folic acid diet (PR-NF), a protein-restricted and folic-acid-supplemented diet (PR-FS), or a normal protein and folic-acid-supplemented diet (NP-FS). We also tested whether prenatal nutrition determines the reaction of an organism to a postweaning high-fat diet. Blood biochemistry and biometrical parameters were evaluated. The expression patterns of PPARα, PPARγ, and LXRα in the liver and adipose tissue were examined by real-time PCR. In the 10-week-old, rats folic acid supplementation of the maternal diet was associated with reduced circulating glucose and total cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively). Neither prenatal diets nor postnatal feeding affected blood insulin concentrations. In the 16-week-old rats, body weight, abdominal fat mass and central adiposity were reduced in the progeny of the folic acid-supplemented dams (P < 0.01, P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively). Maternal protein restriction had no effect on biometry or blood biochemical parameters. Folic acid supplementation of the maternal diet was associated with reduced expression of PPARα, PPARγ, and LXRα in the liver (P < 0.001). Reduced protein content in the maternal diet was associated with increased PPARα mRNA level in the liver (P < 0.001) and reduced LXRα in adipose tissue (P < 0.01). PPARα and PPARγ transcription in the liver, as well as LXRα transcription in adipose tissue, was also dependent on interaction effects between prenatal and postnatal diet compositions. PPARγ transcription in the liver was correlated with the abdominal fat mass, body weight, and calorie intake, while PPARγ transcription in adipose tissue was correlated with reduced body weight and calorie intake. Total serum cholesterol concentration was correlated with LXRα transcription in the liver. Folic acid supplementation of the maternal diet may have favorable effects for lipid metabolism in the progeny, but these effects are modified by the postnatal diet and age. Furthermore, the expression of LXRα, PPARα, and PPARγ in the liver and adipose tissue largely depends on the protein and folic acid content in the maternal diet during gestation. However, the altered transcription profile of these key regulators of lipid metabolism does not straightforwardly explain the observed phenotype.


Department of Human Nutrition and Hygiene, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 31, 60-624, Poznań, Poland,

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Genes & nutrition
ISSN: 1555-8932


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of FOLIC ACID in the diet. Many plant and animal tissues contain folic acid, abundant in green leafy vegetables, yeast, liver, and mushrooms but destroyed by long-term cooking. Alcohol interferes with its intermediate metabolism and absorption. Folic acid deficiency may develop in long-term anticonvulsant therapy or with use of oral contraceptives. This deficiency causes anemia, macrocytic anemia, and megaloblastic anemia. It is indistinguishable from vitamin B 12 deficiency in peripheral blood and bone marrow findings, but the neurologic lesions seen in B 12 deficiency do not occur. (Merck Manual, 16th ed)

The active metabolite of FOLIC ACID. Leucovorin is used principally as its calcium salt as an antidote to folic acid antagonists which block the conversion of folic acid to folinic acid.

Cell surface receptors that bind to and transport FOLIC ACID, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, and a variety of folic acid derivatives. The receptors are essential for normal NEURAL TUBE development and transport folic acid via receptor-mediated endocytosis.

Derivatives of folic acid (pteroylglutamic acid). In gamma-glutamyl linkage they are found in many tissues. They are converted to folic acid by the action of pteroylpolyglutamate hydrolase or synthesized from folic acid by the action of folate polyglutamate synthetase. Synthetic pteroylpolyglutamic acids, which are in alpha-glutamyl linkage, are active in bacterial growth assays.

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of proteins in the diet, characterized by adaptive enzyme changes in the liver, increase in amino acid synthetases, and diminution of urea formation, thus conserving nitrogen and reducing its loss in the urine. Growth, immune response, repair, and production of enzymes and hormones are all impaired in severe protein deficiency. Protein deficiency may also arise in the face of adequate protein intake if the protein is of poor quality (i.e., the content of one or more amino acids is inadequate and thus becomes the limiting factor in protein utilization). (From Merck Manual, 16th ed; Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 12th ed, p406)

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