024 | Effects of maternal malnutrition on stress related gene expression and epigenetic mechanisms in dams and female offspring mice

Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Author: ERIKA INES GEORGIEFF | Email: Georgiefferikaines@gmail.com


1° Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Departamento de Química Biológica, Laboratorio de Neuroepigenética, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2° CONICET-Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto de Química Biológica de la Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales – CONICET (IQUIBICEN), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
3° Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Winconsin-Madison, USA

Maternal malnutrition impacts brain development and long-term mental health, elevating
the risk to suffer of anxiety and depression disorders. DNA methylation is a key neuronal
mechanism for adapting to environmental changes. In this study, female mice exposed to
normal-protein (NP) or low-protein (LP) diets during gestation and lactation were assessed
for behavior and gene/protein expression in mothers and female offspring. We observed
that a LP diet in pregnancy and lactation led to anxiety-like behavior and anhedonia in
mothers and offspring. Reduced GR expression occurred in both hippocampus (HP) and
amygdala (AMY) of mothers and LP offspring. we noted an increase in plasma
corticosterone levels in offspring. Malnourished offspring displayed lower Bdnf exon VI and
an increase in the expression of Dnmt3b and Gadd45b in HP. AMY showed a trend
towards reduced Dnmt3b. A 5mC dot blot in HP of mothers and offspring revealed no
found differences between NP al LP animals on global 5mC levels. These findings indicate
HPA axis dysregulation in offspring, potentially increasing anxiety-like behaviors in adult
LP offspring.