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Maternal Hyperglycemia Disrupts Histone 3 Lysine 36 Trimethylation of the IGF-1 Gene. J Nutr Metab 2012;2012:930364



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In utero environmental adaptation may predispose to lifelong morbidity. Organisms fine-tune gene expression to achieve environmental adaptation by epigenetic alterations of histone markers of gene accessibility. One example of epigenetics is how uteroplacental insufficiency-induced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which predisposes to adult onset insulin resistance, decreases postnatal IGF-1 mRNA variants and the gene elongation mark histone 3 trimethylation of lysine 36 of the IGF-1 gene (H3Me3K36). Limitations in the study of epigenetics exist due to lack of a primary transgenic epigenetic model. Therefore we examined the epigenetic profile of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in a well-characterized rat model of maternal hyperglycemia to determine if the epigenetic profile of IGF-1 is conserved in disparate models of in utero adaptation. We hypothesized that maternal hyperglycemia would increase IGF-1 mRNA variants and H3Me3K36. However maternal hyperglycemia decreased hepatic IGF-1 mRNA variants and H3Me3K36. This finding is intriguing given that despite different prenatal insults and growth, both maternal hyperglycemia and IUGR predispose to adult onset insulin resistance. We speculate that H3Me3K36 of the IGF-1 gene is sensitive to the glucose level of the prenatal environment, with resultant alteration of IGF-1 mRNA expression and ultimately vulnerability to adult onset insulin resistance.

Author List

Zinkhan EK, Fu Q, Wang Y, Yu X, Callaway CW, Segar JL, Scholz TD, McKnight RA, Joss-Moore L, Lane RH


Jeffrey L. Segar MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

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