Some studies have demonstrated that excessive fructose consumption negatively impact brain function. Recently, the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease hypothesis - which suggests that maternal nutritional status during gestation and lactation can alter offspring phenotype - has received much attention. In a previous study, we demonstrated that maternal fructose consumption increases levels of lipid peroxides in hippocampi of offspring. The hypothesis in the present study was that maternal fructose intake would affect hippocampal antioxidant enzyme via epigenetic regulation. Upon confirmation of gestation, female rats were assigned to receive either water (control group) or a 20% fructose solution (fructose-fed group). Water or fructose solution were administered to dams from day 1 of gestation to postnatal day 21. Immediately after weaning, hippocampi of offspring were removed for analysis of antioxidant enzyme (Sod1, Sod2, Gpx1, Gpx4, and Cat) messenger RNA transcript levels. Levels of the Cat transcript were significantly lower in the fructose-fed relative to the control group. The Cat protein level was also significantly lower in the fructose-fed relative to the control group as with the messenger RNA transcript levels. Moreover, Cat promoter DNA methylation levels were higher in the fructose-fed group. The present study indicates that maternal fructose consumption may decrease offspring hippocampal Cat transcript levels via altered DNA methylation, which may result in higher levels of oxidative stress due to a decreased ability to neutralize lipid peroxides.
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