29 October 2008

Starvation of the mother leaves traces in the genes of the child

American scientists have found that starvation of a mother during pregnancy causes changes in fetal genes that persist for at least 60 years and can affect health.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York analyzed the gene encoding insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) in 60 Dutch people conceived between December 1944 and May 1945, when, due to a food supply interruption, the average Dutchman's daily diet contained no more than 500 kcal at a rate of 2000-2500.

The IGF2 gene is an imprinting gene, that is, its activity depends on which parent it is derived from. The regulation of the activity of such a gene is due to the addition of certain chemical "markers" to the nitrogenous bases in the DNA, most often methyl groups. This attachment occurs in the early stages of intrauterine development and persists for life.

Earlier, in an experiment on mice, it was shown that females who received food with a small number of methyl groups had offspring with a reduced number of these "markers" in their genes. To test this effect in humans, scientists decided to use starvation in wartime as a "natural experiment" and compared the IGF2 gene in members of the study group with the same gene in their siblings born in peacetime.

It turned out that the gene of hungry children contains on average 5% fewer methyl groups. Such a difference is enough to affect the activity of the gene.

As previous studies have shown, reduced IGF2 activity is associated with an increased incidence of colon and rectal cancer and some other oncological diseases.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru29.10.2008

Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version