Maternal folate depletion during early development and high fat feeding from weaning elicit similar changes in gene expression, but not in DNA methylation, in adult offspring

Jill A McKay, Long Xie, Michiel Adriaens, Chris T Evelo, Dianne Ford, John C Mathers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

SCOPE: The 'Predictive Adaptive Response' hypothesis suggests that the in utero environment when mismatched with the post-natal environment can influence later life health. Underlying mechanisms are poorly understood, but may involve gene transcription changes regulated via epigenetic mechanisms.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In a 2 × 2 factorial design, female C57Bl/6 mice were randomised to low or normal folate diets (0.4 mg/2 mg folic acid/kg diet) prior to and during pregnancy and lactation with offspring randomised to high- or low-fat diets at weaning. Genome-wide gene expression and promoter DNA methylation were measured using microarrays in adult male livers. Maternal folate depletion and high fat intake post-weaning influenced gene expression (1859 and 1532 genes, respectively) and promoter DNA methylation (201 and 324 loci, respectively) but changes in expression and methylation were poorly matched for both dietary interventions. Expression of 642 genes was altered in response to both maternal folate depletion and post-weaning high fat feeding, treatments imposed separately. In addition, there was evidence that the combined dietary insult (i.e. maternal folate depletion followed by high fat post-weaning) caused the largest expression change for most genes.

CONCLUSION: Our observations align with, and provide evidence in support of, a potential underlying mechanism for the 'Predictive Adaptive Response' hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1600713
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Nutrition & Food Research
Volume61
Issue number4
Early online date8 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • DNA methylation
  • Early life nutrition
  • Folate depletion
  • Gene expression
  • High-fat diet
  • Liver
  • NEURAL-TUBE DEFECTS
  • FOLIC-ACID SUPPLEMENTATION
  • AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
  • CHILDHOOD BRAIN-TUMORS
  • ERYTHROCYTE FOLATE
  • METABOLIC SYNDROME
  • DIETARY-INTAKE
  • LIVER-DISEASE
  • C57BL/6J MICE
  • BIRTH-WEIGHT

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