Maternal protein restriction induces early-onset glucose intolerance and alters hepatic genes expression in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor pathway in offspring.

Research paper by Jia J Zheng, Xinhua X Xiao, Qian Q Zhang, Miao M Yu, Jianping J Xu, Zhixin Z Wang

Indexed on: 15 May '15Published on: 15 May '15Published in: Journal of Diabetes Investigation


Maternal undernutrition during pregnancy and/or lactation can alter the offspring's response to environmental challenges, and thus increases the risk of the development of metabolic diseases at a later age. However, whether maternal protein restriction can modulate glucose metabolism in the early life of offspring is less understood. Furthermore, we explored the potential underlying mechanisms that illustrate this phenotype.To test this hypothesis, we examined the offspring of C57BL/6J mice at weaning to determine the effects of feeding their mothers a low-protein diet or normal chow diet throughout pregnancy and lactation. Gene array experiments and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were utilized to explore the altered hepatic genes expression.The offspring of dams fed a low-protein diet had a lower birthweight and bodyweight, impaired glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, and decreased serum cholesterol at weaning. Using gene array experiments, 253 differentially expressed genes were identified in the liver tissues of the offspring between the two groups. Bioinformatic analyses showed that all differentially expressed genes were mapped to 11 pathways. We focused on the 'peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor signaling pathway,' because peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors have emerged as central regulators of glucose and lipid homeostasis. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was utilized for the validation of genes in the pathway.A maternal low-protein diet during pregnancy and lactation promotes early-onset glucose intolerance in the offspring mice, and the altered hepatic genes expression in peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor signaling pathway could play role in regulating this phenomenon.