Gestational Caloric Restriction Alters Adipose Tissue Methylome and Offspring’s Metabolic Profile in a Swine Model

Mas-Pares B. et al.

Limited nutrient supply to the fetus results in physiologic and metabolic adaptations that have unfavorable consequences in the offspring. In a swine animal model, we aimed to study the effects of gestational caloric restriction and early postnatal metformin administration on offspring’s adipose tissue epigenetics and their association with morphometric and metabolic variables. Sows were either underfed (30% restriction of total food) or kept under standard diet during gestation, and piglets were randomly assigned at birth to receive metformin (n = 16 per group) or vehicle treatment (n = 16 per group) throughout lactation. DNA methylation and gene expression were assessed in the retroperitoneal adipose tissue of piglets at weaning. Results showed that gestational caloric restriction had a negative effect on the metabolic profile of the piglets, increased the expression of inflammatory markers in the adipose tissue, and changed the methylation of several genes related to metabolism. Metformin treatment resulted in positive changes in the adipocyte morphology and regulated the methylation of several genes related to atherosclerosis, insulin, and fatty acids signaling pathways. The methylation and gene expression of the differentially methylated FASN, SLC5A10, COL5A1, and PRKCZ genes in adipose tissue associated with the metabolic profile in the piglets born to underfed sows. In conclusion, our swine model showed that caloric restriction during pregnancy was associated with impaired inflammatory and DNA methylation markers in the offspring’s adipose tissue that could predispose the offspring to later metabolic abnormalities. Early metformin administration could modulate the size of adipocytes and the DNA methylation changes.

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January, 2024


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