Methyl donor nutrients are critical for embryonic development of brain. Hippocampus is the most susceptible brain region to various factors including prenatal supply of methyl donors. Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expressed in hippocampus is involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis and stress sensitivity. Hippocampal GR expression is highly susceptible to epigenetic regulation, yet the effect of maternal methyl donor supplementation on epigenetic regulation of GR transcription in offspring hippocampus remains unclear. In this study, we fed sows with betaine (3 g/kg) throughout the gestation and analyzed the hippocampal expression of GR mRNA and its variants, as well as the CpG methylation status of the promoter and the microRNAs predicted to target 3’ UTR of porcine GR gene in neonatal piglets. Total GR mRNA (P<0.01) and its variants GR 1-4 (P<0.05) and 1-9,10 (P<0.01), were significantly higher in the hippocampus of betaine-treated piglets, while the content of GR protein was not significantly changed. The CpGs located in the –1650 ~ –1515 segment of GR gene were hypermethylated (P<0.05). The hippocampal expression of miR-130b (P<0.05), miR-181a (P<0.05) and miR-181d (P<0.01) was significantly up-regulated. The targeting efficacy of miR-130b and miR-181d was validated in vitro using dual-luciferase reporter assay system. Our results demonstrate that maternal betaine supplementation during gestation enhances GR mRNA expression in offspring hippocampus, which involves alterations in miRNAs expression.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Glucocorticoid receptor