Maternal protein restriction during pregnancy and/or lactation negatively affects follicular ovarian development and steroidogenesis in the prepubertal rat offspring
Guzmán, C.; García-Becerra, R.ío.; Aguilar-Medina, M.A.; Méndez, I.; Merchant-Larios, H.; Zambrano, E.
Archives of Medical Research 45(4): 294-300
Maternal protein restriction during rat pregnancy and lactation is associated with alterations in reproductive function of female offspring including delayed onset of puberty, decreased fertility and premature reproductive aging. These alterations may be related to ovarian prepubertal development, distribution of follicle populations and their steroidogenic capacities. We undertook this study to evaluate the ovarian function of prepubertal female offspring exposed to maternal protein restriction during pregnancy and/or lactation. Adult female Wistar rats were fed a control (C-20% casein diet) or restricted isocaloric diet (R-10% casein) during pregnancy--first letter--and lactation--second letter, to form four groups, CC, RR, CR, RC. Ovaries were collected from 21-day-old female offspring. Preantral and antral follicles were quantified and mRNA expression of key genes involved in follicular development and steroidogenesis (gonadotropin receptors, StAR, P450scc and P450 aromatase) was evaluated. Serum gonadotropin levels were measured. Significantly decreased numbers of preantral and antral follicles were observed in CR and RC ovaries compared with CC. LH levels were lower and FSH higher in CR pups. mRNA expression of LH receptor (LH-R) was decreased in RR in comparison with the other groups. CR and RC expressed higher StAR, RC increased and RR decreased P450scc, whereas RR and CR decreased aromatase expression in comparison with CC. Maternal protein restriction influences prepubertal ovarian follicular number and steroidogenic function in the rat offspring, although RR and CR nutritional schemes have similar outcomes, the mechanisms affecting ovarian function are at different levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.