Thursday April 2, 2020

Parental Diet Crucial for Health of Offspring: Study

Diet affects sperm and health of offspring, says study

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diet health
The epigenetic change induced by paternal low protein diet is maintained in mature sperm during spermatogenesis and transmitted to the next generation. Pixabay

Parental diet is a crucial factor in the future metabolic health of the offspring, say health and lifestyle researchers, adding that when parents eat low-protein or high-fat diets it can lead to metabolic disorders in their adult offspring.

According to the study, published in the journal Molecular Cell, researchers at the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) in Japan, identified a key player and the molecular events underlying this phenomenon in mice.

Experimental evidence indicates that environmental factors that affect parents do play a role in reprogramming the health of their offspring throughout their lifespan.

diet health
Parental diet is a crucial factor in the future metabolic health of the offspring. Pixabay

In particular, parental low-protein diets are known to be related to metabolic disorders in their children, such as diabetes, the study said. This phenomenon is thought to be regulated through epigenetics–heritable changes in which genes are turned on and off without actually changing an individual’s DNA. However, until now, the details of this process were unknown.

In their study, a team led by Keisuke Yoshida and Shunsuke Ishii at RIKEN CPR tackled this question in a mouse model and discovered that a protein called ATF7 is essential for the intergenerational effect. ATF7 is a transcription factor, meaning that it regulates when genes are turned on and off. The researchers fed male and female mice on normal diets or low protein diets and then allowed them to mate.

They compared gene expression–which genes were turned on–in adult offspring of male mice who had been on the two different diets and found that expression differed for hundreds of genes in the liver, many of which are involved in cholesterol metabolism. However, when they used genetically engineered male mice that lacked one copy of the ATF7 gene, gene expression in the offspring did not differ from the expression in offspring whose parents ate normal diets.

diet health
Parents should consume a low-protein diet. Pixabay

This result means that a male mouse’s diet can influence the health of future children. As male mice cannot affect offspring in pregnant females, the researchers concluded that the most likely scenario was that the epigenetic changes occurred in the male’s sperm before conception, and that ATF7 has a critical function in this process.

Based on this logic, the team searched for and found genes in sperm cells that are controlled by ATF7, including those for fat metabolism in the liver and cholesterol production. Experiments revealed that when fathers-to-be ate low protein diets, ATF7 came loose and no longer bound to these genes.

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This in turn reduced a particular modification to histone proteins, with a net effect that these sperm-cell genes were turned on, rather than the normal situation of being turned off, according to the researchers.

“The most surprising and exciting discovery was that the epigenetic change induced by paternal low protein diet is maintained in mature sperm during spermatogenesis and transmitted to the next generation,” Ishii said. (IANS)

Next Story

Can AI Predict Diabetes Accurately? Find it Out Here

AI to predict future diabetes cases with 94% accuracy

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AI diabetes
Researchers have revealed that with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) their trained computer model predicted the future incidence of diabetes. Pixabay

Researchers have revealed that with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) their trained computer model predicted the future incidence of diabetes with an overall accuracy of 94.9 per cent.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Diabetes is linked to increased risks of severe health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Preventing diabetes is essential to reduce the risk of illness and death.

“Currently, we do not have sufficient methods for predicting which generally healthy individuals will develop diabetes,” said study lead author Akihiro Nomura from Kanazawa University in Japan. “Using machine learning, it could be possible to precisely identify high-risk groups of future diabetes patients better than using existing risk scores,” Nomura added.

For the findings, published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, the researchers investigated the use of a type of artificial intelligence called machine learning in diagnosing diabetes.

AI diabetes
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Pixabay

Machine learning is a type of AI that enables computers to learn without being explicitly programmed. The research team analysed 509,153 nationwide annual health checkup records from 139,225 participants from 2008 to 2018 in the city of Kanazawa in Japan.

Among them, 65,505 participants without diabetes were included. The data included physical exams, blood and urine tests and participant questionnaires.

Patients without diabetes at the beginning of the study who underwent more than two annual health checkups during this period were included.

New cases of diabetes were recorded during patients’ checkups, the researchers said.

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The researchers identified a total of 4,696 new diabetes patients (7.2 per cent) in the study period. Their computer model predicted the future incidence of diabetes with an overall accuracy of 94.9 per cent.

According to the authors, the next plan is to perform clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of using statins to treat groups of patients identified by the machine learning model as being at high risk of developing diabetes. (IANS)