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 October 21, 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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