Epigenetics in the uterine environment: How maternal diet and ART may influence the epigenome in the offspring with long-term health consequences

Irene Peral-Sanchez*, Batoul Hojeij, Diego A. Ojeda, Régine P.M. Steegers-Theunissen, Sandrine Willaime-Morawek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The societal burden of non-communicable disease is closely linked with environmental exposures and lifestyle behaviours, including the adherence to a poor maternal diet from the earliest preimplantation period of the life course onwards. Epigenetic variations caused by a compromised maternal nutritional status can affect embryonic development. This review summarises the main epigenetic modifications in mammals, especially DNA methylation, histone modifications, and ncRNA. These epigenetic changes can compromise the health of the offspring later in life. We discuss different types of nutritional stressors in human and animal models, such as maternal undernutrition, seasonal diets, low-protein diet, high-fat diet, and synthetic folic acid supplement use, and how these nutritional exposures epigenetically affect target genes and their outcomes. In addition, we review the concept of thrifty genes during the preimplantation period, and some examples that relate to epigenetic change and diet. Finally, we discuss different examples of maternal diets, their effect on outcomes, and their relationship with assisted reproductive technology (ART), including their implications on epigenetic modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalGenes
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2021

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