Perinatal Malnutrition and Epigenetic Regulation of Long-Term Metabolism

  • Daniel B. HardyEmail author
Reference work entry


Maternal malnutrition in perinatal life can have long-lasting adverse effects on glucose and lipid homeostasis in the offspring, culminating in dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and obesity. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying how these nutritional deficits during perinatal life lead to permanent changes in hepatic and adipose function will provide efficacious therapeutic strategies to mitigate these metabolic defects short and long term. This chapter addresses how epigenetic mechanisms mediate alterations in hepatic and adipose gene expression identified from clinical studies and different experimental models of maternal malnutrition. These include DNA methylation, posttranslational histone modifications, and microRNAs.


DOHaD Dyslipidemia Maternal low-protein diet Liver Adipose Obesity Plasticity Sexual dimorphism Posttranslational histone modifications DNA methylation MicroRNAs 

List of Abbreviations


11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1


ATP-binding cassette transporter 1


ATP-binding cassette transporter 5/8


Acetyl-CoA carboxylase-α


Adenine diphosphate


Apolipoprotein E




Cardiovascular disease


Cytochrome P450 7a1


Developmental origins of health and disease

ER stress

Endoplasmic reticulum stress


Fructose bisphosphatase


Glucose-6 phosphatase


Growth differentiation factor-3


High-density lipoprotein


3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A


Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α


Insulin growth factor 1


Insulin growth factor 2 receptor


Intrauterine growth restriction


Jmj-domain-containing histone demethylation protein


Low-density lipoproteins


Low protein


Liver X receptor


Liver X receptor element




Maternal protein restriction


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (soluble)


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase


Postnatal day


Stearoyl-CoA desaturase


SMAD family member 4


White adipose tissue


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Physiology and Pharmacology, The Children’s Health Research Institute and The Lawson Health Research InstituteThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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