Bone development of the unborn young rats of obese mothers impaired

February 28, 2014 by Marcia Wood
ARS-funded researcher Jin-Ran Chen has shown that bone development of unborn young of mother lab rats (dams) fed high-fat rations to induce obesity was significantly impaired when compared to bones of fetal young of dams that were given lower-fat rations.

Does obesity during pregnancy impact the baby's chances of developing strong, healthy bones? No one knows for certain, but ongoing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded studies at the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center in Little Rock are helping to provide clues.

In an early investigation, Jin-Ran Chen, a principal investigator with the center's Skeletal Development Laboratory, showed that bone development of the unborn young of mother lab rats (dams) fed high-fat rations to induce obesity was significantly impaired, in contrast to the bones of the fetal young of dams that were given lower-fat rations.

Analysis of fetal bone cells from the skull and vertebrae suggests that changes in the functioning of a gene, HoxA10, may help explain this difference in early bone formation, according to Chen.

Studies by scientists elsewhere have already established that HoxA10 is important to and growth. But Chen's investigation, documented in a 2012 article in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's FASEB Journal, is apparently the first to suggest that , induced by the high-fat regimen, may turn off or "downregulate" this gene, thus suppressing robust .

Chen and his team found that HoxA10 was downregulated as a result of high levels of DNA methylation, a biochemical process also referred to as gene methylation. If the results seen in rats hold true for humans, elevated DNA methylation of HoxA10 may increase the baby's risk of developing , such as osteoporosis, later in life.

The results also suggest that it is critical to start early in ensuring that a mother's nutrition benefits the developing child's .

Explore further: Blueberries help lab rats build strong bones

Related Stories

Blueberries help lab rats build strong bones

June 21, 2011
Compounds in blueberries might turn out to have a powerful effect on formation of strong, healthy bones, if results from studies with laboratory rats turn out to hold true for humans.

Ongoing research analyzes formulas, mother's milk

January 20, 2012
Soy-based baby formula nourishes millions of America's infants. Now, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded scientist Jin-Ran Chen is taking a close look at the effects that soy formula, cow's-milk formula, and mother's ...

Identification of a molecule linking bone loss and bone formation

August 1, 2013
Bone integrity requires skeletal remodeling, which involves both bone formation and resorption. It has been previously shown that the formation of new bone is triggered by degradation of older bone. However, it is unknown ...

New disease gene discovery sheds light on cause of bone marrow failure

February 6, 2014
The study, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, detected and identified a new disease gene (ERCC6L2). In its normal form, the gene plays a key role in protecting DNA from damaging agents, but when the gene ...

Fat in organs and blood may increase risk of osteoporosis

July 16, 2013
Excess fat around the belly has recently been identified as a risk factor for bone loss. Now, a new study has determined that excess liver and muscle fat also may be detrimental to bone.

Choloroquine reduces formation of bone resorbing cells in murine osteoporosis

December 9, 2013
Bone homeostasis requires precise balance between deposition of new bone by osteoblasts and resorption of old bone by osteoclasts. Bone diseases, including osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis, are the result of increased ...

Recommended for you

Common antiseptic ingredients de-energize cells and impair hormone response

August 22, 2017
A new in-vitro study by University of California, Davis, researchers indicates that quaternary ammonium compounds, or "quats," used as antimicrobial agents in common household products inhibit mitochondria, the powerhouses ...

Researchers offer new targets for drugs against fatty liver disease and liver cancer

August 22, 2017
There may no silver bullet for treating liver cancer or fatty liver disease, but knowing the right targets will help scientists develop the most effective treatments. Researchers in Sweden have just identified a number of ...

Make way for hemoglobin

August 18, 2017
Every cell in the body, whether skin or muscle or brain, starts out as a generic cell that acquires its unique characteristics after undergoing a process of specialization. Nowhere is this process more dramatic than it is ...

Bio-inspired materials give boost to regenerative medicine

August 18, 2017
What if one day, we could teach our bodies to self-heal like a lizard's tail, and make severe injury or disease no more threatening than a paper cut?

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.