Maternal protein restriction in pregnancy and/or lactation affects seminiferous tubule organization in male rat offspring
Rodríguez-González, G.L.; Vigueras-Villaseñor, R.M.; Millán, S.; Moran, N.; Trejo, R.; Nathanielsz, P.W.; Larrea, F.; Zambrano, E.
Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 3(5): 321-326
Maternal protein restriction (MPR) during pregnancy impaired the reproduction of male offspring. We investigated, during the first wave of spermatogenesis, whether MPR exerts deleterious effects on germ cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as androgen receptor (AR) protein expression, which was used as a marker for Sertoli cell (SC) maturation. At the beginning of pregnancy (day 0), dams were fed a control diet (C: 20% casein) or a restricted isocaloric diet (R: 10% casein). After birth, four groups were established: CC, RR, CR and RC (first letter diet during pregnancy and second during lactation). Male offspring were studied at postnatal days 14, 21 and 36. At birth, pup body weight was unchanged. Body weight and testis weight were reduced in RR and CR groups at all ages evaluated. MPR delayed the germinal epithelium development at all ages evaluated. On performing Western blot and immunohistochemistry, AR expression was found to be lower in the three restricted groups. The results suggest that MPR during pregnancy and/or lactation delays SC maturation and germ cell differentiation, and affects intratubular organization. These changes might be responsible for the lower fertility rate at older ages.