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Impact of maternal malnutrition during the periconceptional period on mammalian preimplantation embryo development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Miguel Velazquez


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During episodes of undernutrition and overnutrition the mammalian preimplantation embryo undergoes molecular and metabolic adaptations to cope with nutrient deficits or excesses. Maternal adaptations also take place to keep a nutritional microenvironment favorable for oocyte development and embryo formation. This maternal-embryo communication takes place via several nutritional mediators. Although adaptive responses to malnutrition by both the mother and the embryo may ensure blastocyst formation, the resultant quality of the embryo can be compromised, leading to early pregnancy failure. Still, studies have shown that, although early embryonic mortality can be induced during malnutrition, the preimplantation embryo possesses an enormous plasticity that allows it to implant and achieve a full-term pregnancy under nutritional stress, even in extreme cases of malnutrition. This developmental strategy, however, may come with a price, as shown by the adverse developmental programming induced by even subtle nutritional challenges exerted exclusively during folliculogenesis and the preimplantation period, resulting in offspring with a higher risk of developing deleterious phenotypes in adulthood. Overall, current evidence indicates that malnutrition during the periconceptional period can induce cellular and molecular alterations in preimplantation embryos with repercussions for fertility and postnatal health

Publication metadata

Author(s): Velazquez MA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Domestic Animal Endocrinology

Year: 2015

Volume: 51

Pages: 27-45

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 12/11/2014

Acceptance date: 28/10/2014

ISSN (print): 0739-7240

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0054

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2014.10.003