Maternal Serine Supplementation Prevents Offspring from Oxidative Stress by Epigenetical Mechanism
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Offspring are sensitive to alterations in maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation. Maternal nutritional factors mainly including methyl donors can affect metabolism regulation in offspring through modulating the methylation status on gene promoters, resulting in an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and other diseases.

Serine, a newly defined functional amino acid, is a major methyl donor and involves one-carbon metabolism by maintaining the methionine cycle. Recently, serine is further proved to epigenetically regulate glutathione synthesis-related genes in high-fat-diet (HFD) treated mice. These evidences suggest that serine might exert beneficial effects on offspring through maternal transfer.

Researchers in the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (ISA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with researchers in China Jiliang University, investigated the effects of maternal serine during pregnancy on HFD-induced oxidative response in offspring.

In the study, a control diet, HF diet, or HF diet administrated with different contents of serine dissolved in running water was fed to C57BL/6J mouse dams during gestation.

The researchers found that markers of oxidative status and lipid levels, in weanlings from dams fed the HFD and administrated with 1% serine, were lower than those of weanlings from dams only fed the HFD.

Furthermore, their results suggested that maternal serine administration increased expression of glutathione synthesis-related genes by inhibiting HFD-induced hypermethylation in DNA promoters.

"Our results indicated that maternal serine supplementation during pregnancy could prevent offspring from oxidative stress by epigenetical mechanism," said ZHOU Xihong, a researcher in ISA.

The study entitled "Effects of maternal serine supplementation on high-fat diet-induced oxidative stress and epigenetic changes in promoters of glutathione synthesis-related genes in offspring" was published in Journal of Functional Foods. It was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Contact: YIN Yulong

Institue of Subtropical Agriculture,Chinese Academy of Sciences