Expression of the placental transcriptome in maternal nutrient reduction in baboons is dependent on fetal sex

Laura A. Cox, Cun Li, Jeremy P. Glenn, Kenneth Lange, Kimberly D. Spradling, Peter W. Nathanielsz, Thomas Jansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Maternal undernutrition increases the risk of perinatal complications and predisposes offspring to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease later in life. Emerging evidence suggests that changes in placental function play a role in linking altered maternal nutrition in pregnancy to the subsequent development of adult disease. The susceptibility for disease in response to an adverse intrauterine environment differs distinctly between boys and girls, with girls typically having better outcomes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that regulation of the placental transcriptome by maternal nutrient reduction (NR) is dependent on fetal sex. We used a nonhuman primate model of NR in which maternal global food intake was reduced by 30% in baboons starting at gestational day (GD) 30. AtGD165 (term=GD183), placental genome expression profiling of 6 control (n = 3 females, 3males) and 6 nutrient restricted (n = 3 females, 3males) fetuses was carried out followed by bioinformatic analysis. Surprisingly, there was no coordinated placental molecular response to decreased nutrient availability when analyzing the data without accounting for fetal sex. In contrast, female placentas exhibited a highly coordinated response that included upregulation of genes in networks, pathways, and functional groups related to programmed cell death and downregulation of genes in networks, pathways, and functional groups associated with cell proliferation. These changes were not apparent in the male placentas. Our data support the concept that female placentas initiate complex adaptive responses to an adverse intrauterine environment, which may contribute to increased survival and better pregnancy outcomes in girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1708
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume143
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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