The competition for nutrients that arises when pregnancy coincides with continuing or incomplete growth in young adolescent girls increases the risk of preterm delivery and low birthweight with negative after-effects for mother and child extending beyond the perinatal period. Sheep paradigms involving nutritional management of weight and adiposity in young, biologically immature adolescents have allowed the consequences of differential maternal growth status to be explored. Although nutrient reserves at conception play a modest role, it is the dietary manipulation of the maternal growth trajectory thereafter which has the most negative impact on pregnancy outcome. Overnourishing adolescents to promote rapid maternal growth is particularly detrimental as placental growth, uteroplacental blood flows and fetal nutrient delivery are perturbed leading to a high incidence of fetal growth restriction and premature delivery of low birthweight lambs, whereas in undernourished adolescents further maternal growth is prevented, and depletion of the maternal body results in a small reduction in birthweight independent of placental size. Maternal and placental endocrine systems are differentially altered in both paradigms with downstream effects on fetal endocrine systems, organ development and body composition. Approaches to reverse these effects have been explored, predominantly targeting placental growth or function. After birth, growth-restricted offspring born to overnourished adolescents and fed to appetite have an altered metabolic phenotype which persists into adulthood, whereas offspring of undernourished adolescents are largely unaffected. This body of work using ovine paradigms has public health implications for nutritional advice offered to young adolescents before and during pregnancy, and their offspring thereafter.
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Kok Lim Kua, Shanming Hu, Chunlin Wang, Jianrong Yao, Diana Dang, Alexander B Sawatzke, Jeffrey L Segar, Kai Wang and Andrew W Norris
Offspring exposed in utero to maternal diabetes exhibit long-lasting insulin resistance, though the initiating mechanisms have received minimal experimental attention. Herein, we show that rat fetuses develop insulin resistance after only 2-day continuous exposure to isolated hyperglycemia starting on gestational day 18. Hyperglycemia-induced reductions in insulin-induced AKT phosphorylation localized primarily to fetal skeletal muscle. The skeletal muscle of hyperglycemia-exposed fetuses also exhibited impaired in vivo glucose uptake. To address longer term impacts of this short hyperglycemic exposure, neonates were cross-fostered and examined at 21 days postnatal age. Offspring formerly exposed to 2 days late gestation hyperglycemia exhibited mild glucose intolerance with insulin signaling defects localized only to skeletal muscle. Fetal hyperglycemic exposure has downstream consequences which include hyperinsulinemia and relative uteroplacental insufficiency. To determine whether these accounted for induction of insulin resistance, we examined fetuses exposed to late gestational isolated hyperinsulinemia or uterine artery ligation. Importantly, 2 days of fetal hyperinsulinemia did not impair insulin signaling in murine fetal tissues and 21-day-old offspring exposed to fetal hyperinsulinemia had normal glucose tolerance. Similarly, fetal exposure to 2-day uteroplacental insufficiency did not perturb insulin-stimulated AKT phosphorylation in fetal rats. We conclude that fetal exposure to hyperglycemia acutely produces insulin resistance. As hyperinsulinemia and placental insufficiency have no such impact, this occurs likely via direct tissue effects of hyperglycemia. Furthermore, these findings show that skeletal muscle is uniquely susceptible to immediate and persistent insulin resistance induced by hyperglycemia.
Miguel A Velazquez, Tom P Fleming and Adam J Watkins
The concept emerging from Professor David Barker’s seminal research on the developmental origins of later-life disease has progressed in many directions since it was first published. One critical question being when during gestation might environment alter the developmental programme with such enduring consequences. Here, we review the growing consensus from clinical and animal research that the period around conception, embracing gamete maturation and early embryogenesis might be the most vulnerable period. We focus on four types of environmental exposure shown to modify periconceptional reproduction and offspring development and health: maternal overnutrition and obesity; maternal undernutrition; paternal diet and health; and assisted reproductive technology. These conditions may act through diverse epigenetic, cellular and physiological mechanisms to alter gene expression and cellular signalling and function in the conceptus affecting offspring growth and metabolism leading to increased risk for cardiometabolic and neurological disease in later life.
Trassanee Chatmethakul and Robert D Roghair
Consistent with the paradigm shifting observations of David Barker and colleagues that revealed a powerful relationship between decreased weight through 2 years of age and adult disease, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and preterm birth are independent risk factors for the development of subsequent hypertension. Animal models have been indispensable in defining the mechanisms responsible for these associations and the potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Among the modifiable risk factors, micronutrient deficiency, physical immobility, exaggerated stress hormone exposure and deficient trophic hormone production are leading candidates for targeted therapies. With the strong inverse relationship seen between gestational age at delivery and the risk of hypertension in adulthood trumping all other major cardiovascular risk factors, improvements in neonatal care are required. Unfortunately, therapeutic breakthroughs have not kept pace with rapidly improving perinatal survival, and groundbreaking bench-to-bedside studies are urgently needed to mitigate and ultimately prevent the tsunami of prematurity-related adult cardiovascular disease that may be on the horizon. This review highlights our current understanding of the developmental origins of hypertension and draws attention to the importance of increasing the availability of lactation consultants, nutritionists, pharmacists and physical therapists as critical allies in the battle that IUGR or premature infants are waging not just for survival but also for their future cardiometabolic health.
Shanqi Fu, Miho Kuwahara, Yoko Uchida, Sei Kondo, Daichi Hayashi, Yuji Shimomura, Asami Takagaki, Takashi Nishida, Yusuke Maruyama, Mika Ikegame, Atsuhiko Hattori, Satoshi Kubota and Takako Hattori
Endochondral ossification, including bone growth and other metabolic events, is regulated by circadian rhythms. Herein, we provide evidence that melatonin has a direct effect on the circadian rhythm of chondrocytes. We detected mRNA expression of the genes which encode the melatonin-synthesizing enzymes AANAT (arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase) and HIOMT (hydroxyindole O-methyltransferase), as well as the melatonin receptors MT1 and MT2 in mouse primary chondrocytes and cartilage. Production of melatonin was confirmed by mass spectrometric analysis of primary rat and chick chondrocytes. Addition of melatonin to primary BALB/c mouse chondrocytes caused enhanced cell growth and increased expression of Col2a1, Aggrecan and Sox9, but inhibited Col10a1 expression. Addition of luzindole, an MT1 and MT2 antagonist, abolished these effects. These data indicate that chondrocytes produce melatonin, which regulates cartilage growth and maturation via the MT1 and MT2 receptors. Kinetic analysis showed that melatonin caused rapid upregulation of Aanat, Mt1, Mt2 and Pthrp expression, followed by Sox9 and Ihh. Furthermore, expression of the clock gene Bmal1 was induced, while that of Per1 was downregulated. Chronobiological analysis of synchronized C3H mouse chondrocytes revealed that melatonin induced the cyclic expression of Aanat and modified the cyclic rhythm of Bmal1, Mt1 and Mt2. In contrast, Mt1 and Mt2 showed different rhythms from Bmal1 and Aanat, indicating the existence of different regulatory genes. Our results indicate that exogenous and endogenous melatonin work in synergy in chondrocytes to adjust rhythmic expression to the central suprachiasmatic nucleus clock.
Kira G Slepchenko, Kathryn L Corbin and Craig S Nunemaker
Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) is a well-accepted method to investigate the physiological and pathophysiological function of islets. However, there is little consensus about which method is best for normalizing and presenting GSIS data. In this study, we evaluated the sufficiency of islet area, total protein, total DNA and total insulin content as parameters to normalize GSIS data. First, we tested if there is a linear correlation between each parameter and the number of islets (10, 20, 30 and 40 islets). Islet area, total protein and insulin content produced excellent linear correlations with islet number (R 2 > 0.9 for each) from the same islet material. Insulin secretion in 11 mM glucose also correlated reasonably well for islet area (R 2 = 0.69), protein (R 2 = 0.49) and insulin content (R 2 = 0.58). DNA content was difficult to reliably measure and was excluded from additional comparisons. We next measured GSIS for 18 replicates of 20 islets each, measuring 3 mM and 11 mM glucose to calculate the stimulation index and to compare each normalization parameter. Using these similar islet masses for each replicate, none of the parameters produced linear correlations with GSIS (R 2 < 0.05), suggesting that inherent differences in GSIS dominate small differences in islet mass. We conclude that when comparing GSIS for islets of reasonably similar size (<50% variance), normalization does not improve the representation of GSIS data. Normalization may be beneficial when substantial differences in islet mass are involved. In such situations, we suggest that using islet cross-sectional area is superior to other commonly used techniques for normalizing GSIS data.
Anne M Houbrechts, Jolien Van houcke and Veerle M Darras
Thyroid hormones are crucial mediators of many aspects of vertebrate life, including reproduction. The key player is the biologically active 3,5,3’-triiodothyronine (T3), whose local bio-availability is strictly regulated by deiodinase enzymes. Deiodinase type 2 (Dio2) is present in many tissues and is the main enzyme for local T3 production. To unravel its role in different physiological processes, we generated a mutant zebrafish line, completely lacking Dio2 activity. Here we focus on the reproductive phenotype studied at the level of offspring production, gametogenesis, functioning of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and sex steroid production. Homozygous Dio2-deficient zebrafish were hypothyroid, displayed a delay in sexual maturity and the duration of their reproductive period was substantially shortened. Fecundity and fertilization were also severely reduced. Gamete counts pointed to a delay in oogenesis at onset of sexual maturity and later on to an accumulation of oocytes in mutant ovaries due to inhibition of ovulation. Analysis of spermatogenesis showed a strongly decreased number of spermatogonia A at onset of sexual maturity. Investigation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis revealed that dysregulation was largely confined to the gonads with significant upregulation of igf3, and a strong decrease in sex steroid production concomitant with alterations in gene expression in steroidogenesis/steroid signaling pathways. Rescue of the phenotype by T3 supplementation starting at 4 weeks resulted in normalization of reproductive activity in both sexes. The combined results show that reproductive function in mutants is severely hampered in both sexes, thereby linking the loss of Dio2 activity and the resulting hypothyroidism to reproductive dysfunction.
Folami Y Ideraabdullah, Anthony M Belenchia, Cheryl S Rosenfeld, Seth W Kullman, Megan Knuth, Debabrata Mahapatra, Michael Bereman, Edward D Levin and Catherine A Peterson
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is metabolized in the body to generate an active metabolite (1,25(OH)2D) with hormone-like activity and highly diverse roles in cellular function. Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is a prevalent but easily preventable nutritional disturbance. Emerging evidence demonstrates the importance of sufficient vitamin D concentrations during fetal life with deficiencies leading to long-term effects into adulthood. Here, we provide a detailed review and perspective of evidence for the role of maternal VDD in offspring long-term health, particularly as it relates to developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD). We focus on the roles in neurobehavioral and cardiometabolic disorders in humans and highlight recent findings from zebrafish and rodent models that probe potential mechanisms linking early life VDD to later life health outcomes. Moreover, we explore evidence implicating epigenetic mechanisms as a mediator of this link. Gaps in our current understanding of how maternal VDD might result in deleterious offspring outcomes later in life are also addressed.
Shiyun Tong, Shumin Yang, Ting Li, Rufei Gao, Jinbo Hu, Ting Luo, Hua Qing, Qianna Zhen, Renzhi Hu, Xuan Li, Yi Yang, Chuan Peng and Qifu Li
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a common environmental pollutant, and exposure to it is associated with proteinuria and may predict the progression of chronic kidney disease; however, the mechanism is not clear. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are a DNA skeleton coated with various proteases, and it is associated with various types of autoimmune nephritis. In this study, we examine whether NETs is involved in BPA-induced chronic kidney injury. In vivo, BPA exposure resulted in impaired renal function and altered renal morphology, including glomerular mesangial matrix expansion and increased renal interstitial fibroblast markers. Meanwhile, more dsDNA can be detected in the serum, and the NETs-associated proteins, MPO and citH3 were deposited in the renal system. In vitro, BPA and NETs treatment caused podocyte injury, a loss of marker proteins and disorder in the actin skeleton. After NETs inhibition via DNase administration, BPA-induced injuries were significantly relieved. In conclusion, the increase of NETosis in circulation and the renal system during BPA exposure suggests that NETs may be involved in BPA-induced chronic kidney injury.
Peixin Li, Zhijian Rao, Brenton Thomas Laing, Wyatt Bunner, Taylor Landry, Amber Prete, Yuan Yuan, Zhong-Tao Zhang and Hu Huang
Vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) is an effective surgery to treat obesity and diabetes. However, the direct effect of VSG on metabolic functions is not fully understood. We aimed to investigate if alterations in hypothalamic neurons were linked with perturbations in liver metabolism after VSG in an energy intake-controlled obese mouse model. C57BL/6 and hrNPY-GFP reporter mice received HFD for 12 weeks and were then divided into three groups: Sham (ad lib), Sham (pair-fed) with VSG and VSG. Food intake was measured daily, and blood glucose levels were measured before and after the study. Energy expenditure and body composition were determined. Serum parameters, liver lipid and glycogen contents were measured and gene/protein expression were analyzed. Hypothalamic POMC, AgRP/NPY and tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons were counted. The following results were obtained. VSG reduced body weight gain and adiposity induced by HFD, increased energy expenditure independent of energy intake. Fed and fasted blood glucose levels were reduced in the VSG group. While serum active GLP-1 level was increased, the active ghrelin and triglycerides levels were decreased along with improved insulin resistance in VSG group. Liver lipid accumulation, glycogen content and gluconeogenic gene expression were reduced in the VSG group. In the hypothalamus, TH-expressing neuron population was decreased, and the POMC-expressing neuron population was increased in the VSG group. In conclusion, our data suggest that VSG improves metabolic symptoms by increasing energy expenditure and lowering lipid and glycogen contents in the liver. These physiological alterations are possibly related to changes in hypothalamic neuron populations.