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Lipids Health Dis. 2013 Jan 23;12:5. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-12-5.

Alteration of fatty acid metabolism in the liver, adipose tissue, and testis of male mice conceived through assisted reproductive technologies: fatty acid metabolism in ART mice.

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Centre of Reproductive Medicine, Women's Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310006, China.



Lipid metabolism plays important roles in the whole process of pregnancy. Previous studies have demonstrated abnormalities of lipid metabolism in the placentas of pregnancies obtained by assisted reproductive technology (ART). Therefore, we hypothesized that ART micromanipulation may affect lipid metabolism in offspring, and focused on the fatty acid metabolism in ART male offspring in this study.


The fatty acid metabolism in the liver, adipose tissue and testis was detected. The comparison between naturally conceived (NC), controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) mice was made to analyze the effect of ART on offspring. The mice models in this study included two age groups: adult group and old group. The fatty acid composition and the expression of lipid metabolism-related genes were analyzed by GC-MS and qRT-PCR.


The fatty acid composition in the liver and adipose tissue were significantly altered in ART mice, but no significant difference was found in the testis. In adipose tissue, ART mice showed decreased monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and increased polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in both adult and old mice, while the alteration of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in the adult disappeared in the old. In liver, the changes were much complex in adult mice, while increased MUFAs and decreased PUFAs were found in ART old mice. The activities of fatty acid metabolism-related enzymes and the expression of lipogenic and lipolytic proteins changed in ART groups, with the adult mice and old mice showing inconsistent alterations. Further analysis indicated that SFAs was closely associated with the alterations of fatty acid metabolism-related enzyme activities and the expression of lipogenic and lipolytic proteins. Furthermore, we also found that the effect of separated ART treatments on fatty acid metabolism varied with different ages and tissues.


ART treatments had effect on the fatty acid composition in adipose tissue and liver of male mice. The alteration of SFAs content was crucial for the regulation of fatty acid composition. These changes might have potential effects on the health of ART male offspring which need further investigation.

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