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Nutritional Stress and Fetal Epigenetics in the Brain

  • Qingyi Ma
  • Lubo Zhang
Reference work entry

Abstract

The developing brain is vulnerable to various adverse environmental conditions during early pregnancy. Maternal nutrition is considered as one of the most influential environmental factors during fetal brain development. The imbalance of maternal diet affects trajectories of neurologic process development and disrupts the architecture of fetal brain, thus leading to increased susceptibility of brain to neurological disorders later in life. Epigenetic mechanisms are essential for the developing brain reprograming and have been determined to underpin the environmental stress-induced fetal origins of adult diseases. Overwhelming evidence obtained from epidemiological studies in humans and experimental studies in maternal nutrition-restriction animal models has indicated that the effects of maternal nutrition on the epigenome and phenotype alternations in offspring are mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. Current studies focusing on immature brain development also showed that maternal malnutrition, such as over-/undernutrition and specific component deficiency, affects fetal brain development via deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms. Thus, the better understanding to the mechanisms of maternal nutrition stress in fetal brain development will potentially lead to early diagnosis and effective treatment for neurological diseases later in life.

Keywords

Fetal origins of adult disease Maternal malnutrition Fetal brain development Neurodevelopment Neurological disorders Epigenetic modifications DNA methylation/demethylation Histone code Noncoding RNA Methyl donors 

List of Abbreviations

5caC

5-Carboxylcytosine

5mC

5-Methylcytosine

ACE-1

Angiotensin-converting enzyme-1

AMPA

α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor

ANGPT2

Angiopoietin 2

Avy

Viable yellow agouti

BDNF

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

CDKN3

Cyclin-dependent kinases 3

DAT

Dopamine reuptake transporter

DNMTs

DNA methyltransferases

GR

Glucocorticoid receptor

HDACs

Histone deacetylases

ICR

Imprinting control region

IGF2

Insulin-like growth factor 2

IGF2-DMR

IGF2 differentially methylated region

Kap

Kinase-associated phosphatase

MBD

Methyl-CpG-binding proteins

MOR

μ-Opioid receptor

NPCs

Neural progenitor cells

PENK

Preproenkephalin

PGCs

Primordial germ cells

PPAR

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor

RTT

Rett syndrome

SAH

S-adenosylhomocysteine

SAM

S-adenosylmethionine

SHH

Sonic hedgehog

SVZ

Subventricular zone

TET1

Ten-eleven translocation methylcytosine dioxygenase 1

VEGFC

Vascular endothelial growth factor-C

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Perinatal Biology, Division of Pharmacology, Department of Basic SciencesLoma Linda University, School of MedicineLoma LindaUSA

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