Emerging studies revealed that maternal protein restriction was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adulthood. However, the mechanisms of its effects on offspring, especially during early life of offspring, are poorly understood. Here, it is hypothesized that impaired metabolic health in offspring from maternal low-protein diet (LPD) is associated with perturbed miRNAs expression in offspring as early as the weaning age. We examined the metabolic effects on the C57BL/6J mice male offspring at weaning from dams fed with LPD or normal chow diet (NCD) throughout pregnancy and lactation. Maternal LPD feeding impaired metabolic health in offspring. Microarray profiling indicated that mmu-miR-615, mmu-miR-124, mmu-miR-376b, and mmu-let-7e were significantly downregulated, while, mmu-miR-708 and mmu-miR-879 were upregulated in LPD offspring. Bioinformatic analysis showed target genes were mapped to inflammatory-related pathways. Serum tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were higher and interleukin 6 (IL-6) had a tendency to be elevated in the LPD group. Finally, both mRNA and protein levels of IL-6 and TNF-α were significantly increased in the LPD group. Our findings provide novel evidence that maternal LPD can regulate miRNAs expression, which may be associated with chronic inflammation status and metabolic health in offspring as early as the weaning age.
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