在6月25日发表的题为“Mouse maternal protein restriction during preimplantation alone permanently alters brain neuron proportion and adult short-term memory”的研究中,来自英国南安普顿大学的科学家们证实,怀孕早期母亲饮食中蛋白质不足会对后代大脑发育产生持久的影响。

具体来说,由Sandrine Willaime-Morawek博士和Tom Fleming教授带领的团队首次证实,在小鼠怀孕的头些天(着床前期,pre-implantation period),母亲营养不良不仅对后代早期大脑发育不利,还会影响成年时的记忆。




Neural stem cells making nerve cells during mouse development. Credit: University of Southampton






Research reveals early maternal diet affects brain development and adult memory

  • Mouse maternal protein restriction during preimplantation alone permanently alters brain neuron proportion and adult short-term memory

    Maternal protein malnutrition throughout pregnancy and lactation compromises brain development in late gestation and after birth, affecting structural, biochemical, and pathway dynamics with lasting consequences for motor and cognitive function. However, the importance of nutrition during the preimplantation period for brain development is unknown. We have previously shown that maternal low-protein diet (LPD) confined to the preimplantation period (Emb-LPD) in mice, with normal nutrition thereafter, is sufficient to induce cardiometabolic and locomotory behavioral abnormalities in adult offspring. Here, using a range of in vivo and in vitro techniques, we report that Emb-LPD and sustained LPD reduce neural stem cell (NSC) and progenitor cell numbers at E12.5, E14.5, and E17.5 through suppressed proliferation rates in both ganglionic eminences and cortex of the fetal brain. Moreover, Emb-LPD causes remaining NSCs to up-regulate the neuronal differentiation rate beyond control levels, whereas in LPD, apoptosis increases to possibly temper neuron formation. Furthermore, Emb-LPD adult offspring maintain the increase in neuron proportion in the cortex, display increased cortex thickness, and exhibit short-term memory deficit analyzed by the novel-object recognition assay. Last, we identify altered expression of fragile X family genes as a potential molecular mechanism for adverse programming of brain development. Collectively, these data demonstrate that poor maternal nutrition from conception is sufficient to cause abnormal brain development and adult memory loss.

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