Placental changes caused by food restriction during early pregnancy in mice are reversible

Reproduction. 2015 Sep;150(3):165-72. doi: 10.1530/REP-15-0010.


In a previous study, 50% calorie restriction in mice from d1.5 to 11.5 of pregnancy resulted in reduced placental weights and areas,relative sparing of labyrinth zone area compared to junctional zone area, and dramatic changes in global gene expression profiles.However, little lasting effect was seen on adult offspring of these pregnancies, with a slight reduction in adiposity in males and some changes in liver gene expression in both sexes. The goals of the present study were to determine whether the placental changes induced by caloric restriction in early pregnancy had permanent, irreversible effects on the placenta, and whether the changes in liver gene expression in adult offspring were present before birth. There were no differences in placental weights or areas, or the areas of individual placental zones near term in mice that had previously been food restricted. Global gene expression profiles at d18.5 were indistinguishable in placentas from control and previously food-restricted mothers. In fetuses from restricted dams at d18.5, liver expression of Gck, a key regulator of glycogen synthesis, was reduced, whereas its expression was increased in livers from adult offspring of restricted dams. Ppara expression was also reduced in fetal livers from restricted dams at d18.5, but not in adult offspring livers. We conclude that alterations in the placenta caused by nutrient restriction in early pregnancy are reversible, and that alterations in gene expression in livers of adult offspring are not a result of changes initiated during pregnancy and maintained through adulthood.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Germinal Center Kinases
  • Gestational Age
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • PPAR alpha / metabolism
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Placenta / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*


  • Germinal Center Kinases
  • PPAR alpha
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases