The placental metabolism can adapt to the environment throughout pregnancy to both the demands of the fetus and the signals from the mother. Such adaption processes include epigenetic mechanisms, which alter gene expression and may influence the offspring's health. These mechanisms are linked to the diversity of prenatal environmental exposures, including maternal under- or overnutrition or gestational diabetes. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear receptors that contribute to the developmental plasticity of the placenta by regulating lipid and glucose metabolism pathways, including lipogenesis, steroidogenesis, glucose transporters, and placental signaling pathways, thus representing a link between energy metabolism and reproduction. Among the PPAR isoforms, PPARγ appears to be the main modulator of mammalian placentation. Certain fatty acids and lipid-derived moieties are the natural activating PPAR ligands. By controlling the amounts of maternal nutrients that go across to the fetus, the PPARs play an important regulatory role in placenta metabolism, thereby adapting to the maternal nutritional status. As demonstrated in animal studies, maternal nutrition during gestation can exert long-term influences on the PPAR methylation pattern in offspring organs. This review underlines the current state of knowledge on the relationship between environmental factors and the epigenetic regulation of the PPARs in placenta metabolism and offspring development.
- peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors
- epigenetic programming
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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