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Low Folate and Selenium in the Mouse Maternal Diet Alters Liver Gene Expression Patterns in the Offspring after Weaning

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma Bermingham, Professor John Edward Hesketh, Anna Maciel Dominguez



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


During pregnancy, selenium (Se) and folate requirements increase, with deficiencies linked to neural tube defects (folate) and DNA oxidation (Se). This study investigated the effect of a high-fat diet either supplemented with (diet H), or marginally deficient in (diet L), Se and folate. Pregnant female mice and their male offspring were assigned to one of four treatments: diet H during gestation, lactation and post-weaning; diet L during gestation, lactation and post-weaning; diet H during gestation and lactation but diet L fed to offspring post-weaning; or diet L during gestation and lactation followed by diet H fed to offspring post-weaning. Microarray and pathway analyses were performed using RNA from colon and liver of 12-week-old male offspring. Gene set enrichment analysis of liver gene expression showed that diet L affected several pathways including regulation of translation (protein biosynthesis), methyl group metabolism, and fatty acid metabolism; this effect was stronger when the diet was fed to mothers, rather than to offspring. No significant differences in individual gene expression were observed in colon but there were significant differences in cell cycle control pathways. In conclusion, a maternal low Se/folate diet during gestation and lactation has more effects on gene expression in offspring than the same diet fed to offspring post-weaning; low Se and folate in utero and during lactation thus has persistent metabolic effects in the offspring.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barnett MPG, Bermingham EN, Young W, Bassett SA, Hesketh JE, Maciel-Dominguez A, McNabb WC, Roy NC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2015

Volume: 7

Issue: 5

Pages: 3370-3386

Online publication date: 08/05/2015

Acceptance date: 29/04/2015

Date deposited: 05/04/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/nu7053370


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