Poster Topical Area: Experimental Animal Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 617
High intakes of methyl group vitamins during pregnancy have lasting effects on energy regulation and may lead to the development of obesity in the offspring. Choline is a methyl-donor nutrient that is essential for fetal development and is involved in DNA methylation-dependent epigenetic regulation of gene expression. Ample evidence shows that maternal choline supplementation improves fetal brain development leading to enhanced long-term cognitive function and memory. However, its role in the regulation of energy balance has been of little attention. This is the first study to describe the effect of maternal choline on hypothalamic regulation of energy balance and associated biomarkers of obesity in the offspring.
Objectives: To examine the effects of dietary choline (below and above requirements) in a maternal diet on food intake, energy expenditure, and phenotypic outcomes in offspring later in life.
Methods: Pregnant Wistar rat dams were fed an AIN93G diet containing the recommended level of choline (RC, 1 g/kg diet), low choline (LC, 0.5-fold RC), or high choline (HC, 2.5-fold RC). Male rat offspring were weaned to the RC diet for 17 weeks. Post-weaning (PW) food intake, body weight, and 24hr energy expenditure were assessed. Fasting plasma insulin and leptin were measured at birth and PW. Choline levels were determined using LC-MS/MS in brains of offspring collected at birth.
Results: Brain choline concentrations at birth proportionally reflected the choline content in the maternal diets. The HC pups and LC pups had 1.3-fold higher and 0.6-fold lower brain choline levels than RC pups, respectively (p<0.05). RC pups had higher leptin at birth than both LC and HC pups (~50%, p<0.01). During adulthood, offspring weaned from HC dams consumed more food (12%, p<0.01) and gained more weight (11%, p<0.05), but had the same energy expenditure as the RC group. Although LC offspring showed no differences in body weight and food intake, they had lower energy expenditure (6%, p<0.05) than the RC group. PW fasting plasma insulin and leptin were not affected by gestational diets.
Conclusion: Choline content in the maternal diet programs FI and the relationship between body weight and energy expenditure in the offspring. The hypothalamic mechanisms underlying these novel findings are still being investigated.
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada