|« Vitamin D analog enhances radiation therapy||Exercise and low fat diet blasts prostate cancer cells »|
JOURNAL: Molecular and Cellular Biology
AUTHORS: Randy Jirtle PhD
ABSTRACT: Findings revealed a profound effect of prenatal nutrition on mice.
COMMENTARY: Female yellow Agouti mice fed the methyl donor nutrients folic acid, vitamin B12, choline and trimethylglycine (betaine) before and during pregnancy and lactation gave birth to offspring with brown coats, while mice not provided with supplements gave birth to mice with yellow coats.
The coat color in this strain of mice changes to brown when expression of the Agouti gene is reduced, yet giving the nutrients to the mice did not changed the gene itself.
The nutrients given to the mice in the study enhance DNA methylation.
Methylation of the Agouti gene also reduced the animals' susceptibility to obesity, diabetes and cancer, and could affect other genes.
Lead author Rob Waterland PHD added, "The implications for humans are huge because methylation is a common event in the human genome, and it is clearly a malleable effect that is subject to subtle changes in utero . . . Diet, nutritional supplements and other seemingly innocuous compounds can alter the development in utero to such an extent that it changes the offspring's characteristics for life, and potentially that of future generations."