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J Nutr. 2011 Dec;141(12):2106-12. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.146597. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Chronic maternal protein deprivation in mice is associated with overexpression of the cohesin-mediator complex in liver of their offspring.

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  • 1USDA/Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms may play an important role in the developmental programming of adult-onset chronic metabolic diseases resulting from suboptimal fetal nutrition, but the exact molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. Given the central role of the liver in metabolic regulation, we investigated whether chronic maternal dietary protein restriction has long-term effects on liver gene expression in the offspring. We fed adult C57BL/6J dams ad libitum an 8% maternal low-protein (MLP) or 20% protein control diet (C) from 4 wk prior to mating until the end of lactation. Male pups were weaned to standard nonpurified diet and singly housed at 21 d of age (d 21). Body weights were followed to 1 y of age (1 y). At d 21 and 1 y, organs were quantitatively dissected and analyzed. MLP offspring had significantly lower body weights at all ages and significantly lower serum activity of alanine aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase at 1 y. Gene expression profiling of liver at 1 y showed 521 overexpressed and 236 underexpressed genes in MLP compared to C offspring. The most important novel finding was the overexpression of genes found in liver that participate in organization and maintenance of higher order chromatin architecture and regulation of transcriptional activation. These included members of the cohesin-mediator complex, which regulate gene expression by forming DNA loops between promoters and enhancers in a cell type-specific fashion. Thus, our findings of increased expression of these factors in liver of MLP offspring implicate a possible novel epigenetic mechanism in developmental programming.

PMID:
22013202
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3223869
Free PMC Article
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