Background: Maternal exercise lowers the incidence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) induced by pregestational diabetes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of maternal exercise remain unclear. The present study aimed to identify circular RNA (circRNA), microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA networks that are regulated by maternal exercise in fetal hearts of pregestational diabetes.
Methods: Pregestational diabetes was induced in adult C57BL/6 female mice by streptozotocin. The expression profiles of circRNAs, miRNAs and mRNAs in E10.5 fetal hearts of offspring of control and diabetic mothers with or without exercise were analyzed using next generation sequencing. circRNA-miRNA-mRNA networks in fetal hearts were mapped and key candidate transcripts were verified by qPCR analysis.
Results: Pregestational diabetes dysregulated the expression of 206 circRNAs, 66 miRNAs and 391 mRNAs in fetal hearts. Maternal exercise differentially regulated 188 circRNAs, 57 miRNAs and 506 mRNAs in fetal hearts of offspring of pregestational diabetes. A total of 5 circRNAs, 12 miRNAs, and 28 mRNAs were incorporated into a final maternal exercise-associated regulatory network in fetal hearts of offspring of maternal diabetes. Notably, maternal exercise normalized the dysregulated circ_0003226/circ_0015638/miR-351-5p and circ_0002768/miR-3102-3p.2-3p pairs in fetal hearts of pregestational diabetes.
Conclusion: Maternal exercise reverses the dysregulated circ_0003226/circ_0015638/miR-351-5p and circ_0002768/miR-3102-3p.2-3p pairs, and partially normalizes circRNA, miRNA, and mRNA expression profiles in fetal hearts of pregestational diabetes. These findings shed new light on the potential mechanisms of the beneficial effects of maternal exercise on the developing heart in diabetic pregnancies.
Keywords: Maternal exercise; Pregestational diabetes; RNA sequencing; circRNA-associated network; miRNA.
Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.