Maternal nutrient restriction in baboon programs later-life cellular growth and respiration of cultured skin fibroblasts: a potential model for the study of aging-programming interactions

Geroscience. 2018 Jun;40(3):269-278. doi: 10.1007/s11357-018-0024-0. Epub 2018 May 25.


Compelling data exist for programming of chronic later-life diseases and longevity by perinatal developmental programming challenges. Understanding mechanisms by which life course health trajectory and longevity are set is fundamental to understanding aging. Appropriate approaches are needed to determine programming effects on cellular function. We have developed a baboon model in which control mothers eat ad libitum while a second group eat 70% of the global diet fed controls, leading to male and female offspring intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). We have shown that IUGR suffer from acceleration of several age-related physiological declines. Here, we report on a skin-derived fibroblast model with potential relevance for mechanistic studies on how IUGR impacts aging. Fibroblasts were cultured from the skin biopsies taken from adult baboons from control and IUGR cohorts. IUGR-derived fibroblasts grew in culture less well than controls and those derived from male, but not female, IUGR baboons had a significant reduction in maximum respiration rate compared to control-derived fibroblasts. We also show that relative levels of several mitochondrial protein subunits, including NDUFB8 and cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV, were reduced in IUGR-derived fibroblasts even after serial passaging in culture. The lower levels of electron transport system components provide potential mechanisms for accelerated life course aging in the setting of programmed IUGR. This observation fits with the greater sensitivity of males compared with females to many, but not all, outcomes in response to programming challenges. These approaches will be powerful in the determination of programming-aging interactions.

Keywords: Cell culture; Electron transport; Fibroblasts; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Programming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / pathology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Papio
  • Pregnancy
  • Skin Aging / pathology*