Background and aims Moderately reduced maternal nutrient availability during pregnancy has adverse effects on the fetuses’ growth and metabolism during and after pregnancy. The aim of this study was to explore effects of maternal nutrition restriction (MNR) on key metabolites of the fetal energy metabolism, particularly amino acids (AA), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), acylcarnitines and phospholipids. These effects may reflect mechanisms relating MNR to later adverse outcomes. Methods and results Plasma and liver samples of fetal baboons, whose mothers were fed ad libitum (CTR) or MNR (70% of CTR), were collected at 0.5 and 0.9 gestation (G – term 184 days). Metabolites were measured with liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. In both, CTR and MNR, fetal metabolic profiles changed markedly between 0.5G and 0.9G. Fetal liver glucose concentrations were strongly increased. Hepatic levels of NEFA, sphingomyelins, and alkyl-linked phospholipids increased while plasma NEFA and acyl-linked phospholipids levels decreased with progression of gestation. At 0.5G, MNR fetal plasma levels of short- and medium-chain acylcarnitines were elevated, but did no longer differ between groups at 0.9G. At 0.9G, plasma levels of methionine and threonine as well as hepatic threonine levels were lower in the MNR group. Conclusion Small differences in the concentrations of plasma and liver metabolites between MNR and CTR fetuses reflect good adaptation to MNR. Fetal liver metabolic profiles changed markedly between the two gestation stages, reflecting enhanced liver glucose and lipid levels with advancing gestation. Decreased concentrations of AA suggest an up-regulation of gluconeogenesis in MNR.
- Fetal programming
- Maternal nutrition restriction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine