Do genes or maternal environments shape fetal brains?

This 2019 Singapore human study used Diffusion Tensor Imaging on 5-to-17-day old infants to find: “Our findings showed evidence for region-specific effects of genotype and GxE on individual differences in human fetal development of the hippocampus and amygdala. Gene x Environment models outcompeted models containing genotype or environment only, to best explain the majority of … Continue reading Do genes or maternal environments shape fetal brains?

The lack of oxygen’s epigenetic effects on a fetus

This 2018 Loma Linda review subject was gestational hypoxia: “Of all the stresses to which the fetus and newborn infant are subjected, perhaps the most important and clinically relevant is that of hypoxia. This review explores the impact of gestational hypoxia on maternal health and fetal development, and epigenetic mechanisms of developmental plasticity with emphasis … Continue reading The lack of oxygen’s epigenetic effects on a fetus

Maternal obesity causes fetal liver damage

This 2018 US baboon study was on fetal effects from maternal obesity before and during pregnancy: “Approximately 64% of women of childbearing age in the USA [are] overweight or obese. The baboon is a well-characterized animal model sharing many physiological, metabolic, and genetic characteristics with humans allowing direct translation of findings to human pregnancy. Our … Continue reading Maternal obesity causes fetal liver damage

Epigenetic effects of microRNA on fetal heart development

This 2017 Australian review’s subject was epigenetic impacts involving microRNA in adverse intrauterine environments, and how these affected fetal heart tissue development: “We describe how an adverse intrauterine environment can influence the expression of miRNAs (a sub-set of non-coding RNAs) and how these changes may impact heart development. Potential consequences of altered miRNA expression in … Continue reading Epigenetic effects of microRNA on fetal heart development

“Transgenerationally” inherited epigenetic effects of fetal alcohol exposure

The fourth paper of Transgenerational¬†epigenetic inheritance week was a 2016 German rodent study of of improperly-termed “transgenerational” epigenetic effects of alcohol: “We investigated 2 generations of offspring born to alcohol-treated mothers. Here, we show that memory impairment and reduced synthesis of acetylcholine occurs in both¬†F1 (exposed to ethanol in utero) and F2 generation (never been … Continue reading “Transgenerationally” inherited epigenetic effects of fetal alcohol exposure

Fetal exposure to sex hormones and female anxiety

This 2015 Swedish rodent study found: “Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) display high circulating androgen levels that may affect the fetus and increase the risk of mood disorders in offspring. Although clinical data are inconsistent, there are indications that androgens play a crucial role in behavior and mood regulation in females. Studies on the … Continue reading Fetal exposure to sex hormones and female anxiety

Countering the epigenetic effects of obese mothers on their fetuses

This 2015 Colorado rodent study found: “Maternal ADN [adiponectin, a hormone produced by fat cells, that regulates fat and glucose metabolism] supplementation reversed the adverse effects of maternal obesity on placental function and fetal growth. Babies of mothers with obesity and/or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are often large at birth and have increased adiposity, which … Continue reading Countering the epigenetic effects of obese mothers on their fetuses

Epigenetic DNA methylation and demethylation with the developing fetus

This extremely dense and informative 2014 UK summary study provided details about genomic imprinting: “An unusual epigenetic process in that it is heritable and results in autosomal gene expression according to parent of origin.” Several notes of interest: Figure 3 had a fascinating sketch of how the fetus caused the mother’s hypothalamus to: “Determine forward … Continue reading Epigenetic DNA methylation and demethylation with the developing fetus

Sex hormone exposure to the developing female fetus causes infertility in adulthood

This 2014 rodent study was of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is the leading cause of human female infertility. The researchers could reliably induce this disease in mice while they were still fetuses, but effects didn’t manifest until adulthood! The inducement method exposed the developing female fetuses to androgens such that their testosterone concentration was significantly … Continue reading Sex hormone exposure to the developing female fetus causes infertility in adulthood

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of thyroid hormone sensitivity

My 500th curation is a 2019 Portuguese human study of Azorean islanders: “This study demonstrates a transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans produced by exposure to high TH [thyroid hormone] in fetal life, in the absence of maternal influences secondary to thyrotoxicosis. The inheritance is along the male line. The present work took advantage of the … Continue reading Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of thyroid hormone sensitivity