Maternal folic acid supplementation does not counteract the deleterious impact of prenatal exposure to environmental pollutants on lipid homeostasis in male rat descendants

J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2020 Aug;11(4):427-437. doi: 10.1017/S2040174419000497. Epub 2019 Sep 16.


Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been associated with the development of metabolic syndrome-related diseases in offspring. According to epidemiological studies, father's transmission of environmental effects in addition to mother's can influence offspring health. Moreover, maternal prenatal dietary folic acid (FA) may beneficially impact offspring health. The objective is to investigate whether prenatal FA supplementation can overcome the deleterious effects of prenatal exposure to POPs on lipid homeostasis and inflammation in three generations of male rat descendants through the paternal lineage. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (F0) were exposed to a POPs mixture (or corn oil) +/- FA supplementation for 9 weeks before and during gestation. F1 and F2 males were mated with untreated females. Plasma and hepatic lipids were measured in F1, F2, and F3 males after 12-h fast. Gene expression of inflammatory cytokines was determined by qPCR in epididymal adipose tissue. In F1 males, prenatal POPs exposure increased plasma lipids at 14 weeks old and hepatic lipids at 28 weeks old and prenatal FA supplementation decreased plasma total cholesterol at 14 weeks old. Prenatal POPs exposure decreased plasma triglycerides at 14 weeks old in F2 males. No change was observed in inflammatory markers. Our results show an impact of the paternal lineage on lipid homeostasis in rats up to the F2 male generation. FA supplementation of the F0 diet, regardless of POPs exposure, lowered plasma cholesterol in F1 males but failed to attenuate the deleterious effects of prenatal POPs exposure on plasma and hepatic lipids in F1 males.

Keywords: Pollutant; folic acid; lipids; male lineage; prenatal exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Homeostasis
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / drug therapy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Lipids
  • Folic Acid

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