Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Periconceptional undernutrition affects in utero methyltransferase expression and steroid hormone concentrations in uterine flushings and blood plasma during the peri-implantation period in domestic pigs

A. Franczak A C , K. Zglejc A , E. Waszkiewicz A , B. Wojciechowicz A , M. Martyniak A , W. Sobotka B , S. Okrasa A and G. Kotwica A

A Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowski 1A, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland.

B Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Management, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowski 5, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland.

C Corresponding author. Email: anitaf@uwm.edu.pl

Reproduction, Fertility and Development - https://doi.org/10.1071/RD16124
Submitted: 21 March 2016  Accepted: 20 June 2016   Published online: 18 August 2016

Abstract

Female undernutrition during early pregnancy may affect the physiological pattern of genomic DNA methylation. We hypothesised that in utero DNA methylation may be impaired in females fed a restrictive diet in early pregnancy. In this study we evaluated whether poor maternal nutritional status, induced by applying a restricted diet during the peri-conceptional period, may influence: (1) the potential for in utero DNA methylation, expressed as changes in the mRNA expression and protein abundance of methyltransferases: DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) and DNMT3a in the endometrium and the myometrium, (2) the intrauterine microenvironment, measured as oestradiol 17β (E2) and progesterone (P4) concentrations in uterine flushings and (3) plasma concentration of E2 and P4 during the peri-implantation period. Our results indicate that maternal peri-conceptional undernutrition affects maintenance and de novo DNA methylation in the endometrium, de novo methylation in the myometrium and a results in a decrease in intrauterine E2 concentration during the peri-implantation period. The intrauterine concentration of P4 and plasma concentrations of E2 and P4 did not change. These findings suggest that undernutrition during the earliest period of pregnancy, and perhaps the pre-pregnancy period, may create changes in epigenetic mechanisms in the uterus and intrauterine milieu of E2 during the peri-implantation period.

Additional keywords: DNA methylation, endometrium, myometrium, oestradiol-17β, progesterone.


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