Maternal low-quality protein diet exerts sex-specific effects on plasma amino acid profile and alters hepatic expression of methyltransferases in adult rat offspring

Creative Commons License

Akyol Mutlu A., Kabasakal Çetin A., Güleç A., Daşgın H., Ayaz A., Onbaşılar İ.

Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, vol.9, no.4, pp.409-416, 2018 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Name: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.409-416
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Nutrition during pregnancy and lactation is a critical factor in the development of the

offspring. Both protein content and source in maternal diet affect neonatal health, but the

long-term effects of maternal low-quality protein diet on the offspring are less clear. This

study aimed to examine the effects of maternal low-quality protein diet on offspring’s growth,

development, circulating metabolites and hepatic expression of methyltransferases. Virgin

Wistar rats were mated at 11 weeks of age. Dams were then maintained on either a chow diet

with 20% casein as the control group (C), or a low-quality protein diet with 20% wheat gluten

as the experimental group (WG) throughout gestation and lactation. After weaning, all

offspring were fed a control chow diet until the age of 20 weeks. Male WG offspring had

significantly lower body weight and energy intake, whereas female WG offspring had

significantly higher body weight and energy intake when compared with controls. Early life

exposure to WG diet had no significant effect on circulating metabolites. However, fasting

insulin concentrations and homoeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance were decreased

in WG male and female offspring. Maternal low-quality protein diet increased plasma

aspartic acid, glutamic acid, histidine, cystathione and decreased lysine in male WG offspring.

Conversely, the same amino acids were reduced in female WG offspring. Adult offspring

exposed to WG diet had significantly upregulated hepatic DNMT3a and DNMT3b

expressions. Our study showed that there were differential effects of maternal poor-quality

protein diet upon adult offspring’s metabolism.