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Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells of the intrauterine growth-restricted rat offspring exhibit enhanced adipogenic phenotype



Although intrauterine nutritional stress is known to result in offspring obesity and the metabolic phenotype, the underlying cellular/molecular mechanisms remain incompletely understood. We tested the hypothesis that compared with the controls, the bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) of the intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) offspring exhibit a more adipogenic phenotype.


A well-established rat model of maternal food restriction (MFR), that is, 50% global caloric restriction during the later-half of pregnancy and ad libitum diet following birth that is known to result in an obese offspring with a metabolic phenotype was used. BMSCs at 3 weeks of age were isolated, and then molecularly and functionally profiled.


BMSCs of the intrauterine nutritionally-restricted offspring demonstrated an increased proliferation and an enhanced adipogenic molecular profile at miRNA, mRNA and protein levels, with an overall up-regulated PPARγ (miR-30d, miR-103, PPARγ, C/EPBα, ADRP, LPL, SREBP1), but down-regulated Wnt (LRP5, LEF-1, β-catenin, ZNF521 and RUNX2) signaling profile. Following adipogenic induction, compared with the control BMSCs, the already up-regulated adipogenic profile of the MFR BMSCs, showed a further increased adipogenic response.


Markedly enhanced adipogenic molecular profile and increased cell proliferation of MFR BMSCs suggest a possible novel cellular/mechanistic link between the intrauterine nutritional stress and offspring metabolic phenotype. This provides new potential predictive and therapeutic targets against these conditions in the IUGR offspring.

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