Maternal diets deficient in folic acid and related methyl donors modify mechanisms associated with lipid metabolism in the fetal liver of the rat

Christopher J McNeil, Susan M Hay, Garry J Rucklidge, Martin D Reid, Gary J Duncan, William D Rees

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Previously we have examined the effects of diets deficient in folic acid (-F) or folate deficient with low methionine and choline (-FLMLC) on the relative abundance of soluble proteins in the liver of the pregnant rat In the present study we report the corresponding changes in the fetal liver at day 21 of gestation The abundance of eighteen proteins increased when dams were fed the -F diet When dams were fed the -FLMLC diet thirty-three proteins increased and eight decreased Many of the differentially abundant proteins in the fetal liver could be classified into the same associated with the cytoskeleton and endoplasmic reticulum The pattern was consistent with reduced cell proliferation in the -F LM LC group but not in the -F group Metabolic enzymes associated with lipid metabolism changed in both the -F and -F LM LC groups The mRNA for carnitine palmitoyl transferase were up-regulated and CD36 (fatty acid translocate) down-regulated in the -F group suggesting increased mitochondrial oxidation of fatty acids as an indirect response to altered maternal lipid metabolism in the -F LM LC group the mRNA for acetyl CoA carboxylase was down-regulated suggesting reduced fatty acid synthesis The mRNA for transcriptional regulators including PPAR alpha and sterol response element-binding protein-1c were unchanged. These results suggest that an adequate supply of folic acid and the related methyl donors may benefit fetal development directly by improving lipid metabolism in fetal as well as maternal tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1452
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Early online date1 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2009


  • pregnancy
  • methionine
  • choline
  • folic acid
  • endoplasmic reticulum
  • activated-receptor-alpha
  • growth-arrest genes
  • protein restriction
  • folate-deficiency
  • blood-pressure
  • supplementation
  • expression
  • secretion
  • cells
  • pathway
  • endolasmic reticulum

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