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Paternal low protein diet programs preimplantation embryo gene expression, fetal growth and skeletal development in mice

Watkins, Adam J.; Sirovica, Slobodan; Stokes, Ben; Isaacs, Mark; Addison, Owen; Martin, Richard A.


Adam J. Watkins

Slobodan Sirovica

Ben Stokes

Mark Isaacs

Owen Addison

Richard A. Martin


Defining the mechanisms underlying the programming of early life growth is fundamental for improving adult health and wellbeing. While the association between maternal diet, offspring growth and adult disease risk is well-established, the effect of father's diet on offspring development is largely unknown. Therefore, we fed male mice an imbalanced low protein diet (LPD) to determine the impact on post-fertilisation development and fetal growth. We observed that in preimplantation embryos derived from LPD fed males, expression of multiple genes within the central metabolic AMPK pathway was reduced. In late gestation, paternal LPD programmed increased fetal weight, however, placental weight was reduced, resulting in an elevated fetal:placental weight ratio. Analysis of gene expression patterns revealed increased levels of transporters for calcium, amino acids and glucose within LPD placentas. Furthermore, placental expression of the epigenetic regulators Dnmt1 and Dnmt3L were increased also, coinciding with altered patterns of maternal and paternal imprinted genes. More strikingly, we observed fetal skeletal development was perturbed in response to paternal LPD. Here, while offspring of LPD fed males possessed larger skeletons, their bones comprised lower volumes of high mineral density in combination with reduced maturity of bone apatite. These data offer new insight in the underlying programming mechanisms linking poor paternal diet at the time of conception with the development and growth of his offspring.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2017
Journal BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease
Electronic ISSN 0925-4439
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1863
Issue 6
APA6 Citation Watkins, A. J., Sirovica, S., Stokes, B., Isaacs, M., Addison, O., & Martin, R. A. (2017). Paternal low protein diet programs preimplantation embryo gene expression, fetal growth and skeletal development in mice. BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1863(6), doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.02.009
Keywords Blastocyst metabolism; Bone health; Developmental programming; Fetal growth; Paternal diet; Placental function
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf