Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exposure to micronutrients pre-pregnancy associated with gene modifications in offspring

Date:
February 22, 2012
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
The offspring of women who were given micronutrient supplements (minerals needed in small quantities, such as iron, iodine and vitamin A) before they became pregnant had gene modifications at birth as well as when they were tested at nine months.

The offspring of women who were given micronutrient supplements (minerals needed in small quantities, such as iron, iodine and vitamin A) before they became pregnant had gene modifications at birth as well as when they were tested at 9 months.

The changes to the genes, called methylation, have previously been associated with the development of the immune system, although this study did not provide direct evidence that the activity of these genes has changed.

Professor Nabeel Affara, lead author of the study from the University of Cambridge, said: "The mechanism by which micronutrients influence methylation changes is still to be worked out, but it is known from other work that the genes of the immune system undergo such changes as immune function develops, particularly in early postnatal stages and early childhood.

"These changes are part of the normal development of the immune system provided adequate nutrition is available. Where this is not the case, different patterns of methylation may occur, altering the activity of key genes and therefore potentially the effectiveness of the immune system. The result is likely to be reduced ability to fight infection and hence susceptibility to infectious diseases."

The study used DNA samples from a Medical Research Council (MRC) micronutrient supplementation trial where women attempting to get pregnant are given either a cocktail of micronutrients or a placebo until pregnancy is confirmed (approximately an 8 weeks period). The research was conducted in The Gambia where there is seasonal variation in the availability of micronutrients with an alternation between the dry season (when they harvest and food is plentiful) and the wet season (when there is less food available and therefore poorer nutrition). Individuals born in the wet, nutritionally poor season have been found to be more susceptible to infection.

Professor Affara added: "This has huge public health implications for regions of the world where food security is an issue. If we have an improved understanding of what nutrition is important and the mechanisms by which this important environmental factor interacts with gene function, we can target nutritional intervention to improve health in later life."

The research, funded by the BBSRC, was published February 22 in the journal Human Molecular Genetics in advance online publication. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Khulan, W. N. Cooper, B. M. Skinner, J. Bauer, S. Owens, A. M. Prentice, G. Belteki, M. Constancia, D. Dunger, N. A. Affara. Periconceptional maternal micronutrient supplementation is associated with widespread gender related changes in the epigenome: a study of a unique resource in the Gambia. Human Molecular Genetics, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/hmg/dds026

Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "Exposure to micronutrients pre-pregnancy associated with gene modifications in offspring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132737.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2012, February 22). Exposure to micronutrients pre-pregnancy associated with gene modifications in offspring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132737.htm
University of Cambridge. "Exposure to micronutrients pre-pregnancy associated with gene modifications in offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132737.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins