Published on May 24th, 2018 in the Nature Communications journal, Tracy Brawley from the Oregon Health and Science University summarized the outcomes of research done to define the molecular basis that explains the link between fetal growth and a pregnant mother’s nutrition.
“A new study, led by OHSU researcher Jae W. Lee, Ph.D., demonstrates that two neurons which are key to growth and metabolism are developmentally interconnected.
While many factors, such as the age of the mother, overall health and genetics ultimately play a role, the correlation between a mother’s nutrition habits and metabolism has been proved to directly impact the growth of her child. And researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, believe they may be one step closer to knowing why.
‘For the first time, these findings prove the intimate relationship between GHRH and AgRP neurons in developmental lineage. Further, the development of both neurons can be artificially preset in controlling postnatal growth,’ Lee said.
The researchers now are working to determine if DLX1 may be controlled by diet. By testing both high-fat and low-protein—or malnourished—diets in mice, Lee hopes to identify how food impacts a baby’s genetic makeup in the womb. This could scientifically support the idea that ‘you are what your mother eats.'”
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