Plasma and Aorta Biochemistry and MMPs Activities in Female Rabbit Fed Methionine Enriched Diet and Their Offspring
Pregnancy is associated with hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia in humans. These changes take place to support fetal growth and development, and modifications of these maternal concentrations may influence lipids and cholesterol synthesis in the dam, fetus and placenta. Administration of a 0.2% enriched cholesterol diet (ECD) during rabbit gestation significantly increased cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) levels in maternal livers and decreased fetal weight by 15%. Here we used Western blot analysis to examine the impact of gestation and 0.2% ECD on the expression levels of fatty acid synthase (FAS), HMGR and SREBP-1/2, which are involved in either lipid or cholesterol synthesis. We confirmed that gestation modifies the hepatic and circulating lipid profile in the mother. Our data also suggest that the maternal liver mainly supports lipogenesis, while the placenta plays a key role in cholesterol synthesis. Thus, our data demonstrate a decrease in HMGR protein levels in dam livers by feeding an ECD. In the placenta, SREBPs are highly expressed, and the ECD supplementation increased nuclear SREBP-1/2 protein levels. In addition, our results show a decrease in FAS protein levels in non-pregnant liver and in the liver of offspring from ECD-treated animals. Finally, our data suggest that the placenta does not modify its own cholesterol synthesis in response to an increase in circulating cholesterol. However, the dam liver compensates for this increase by essentially decreasing the level of HMGR expression. Because HMGR and FAS expressions do not correlate with the circulating lipid profile, it would be interesting to find which genes are then targeted by SREBP-1/2 during gestation.