Recent evidence has linked human phthalate exposure to abnormal reproductive and hormonal effects. Phthalates are plasticizers that confer flexibility and transparency to plastics, but they readily contaminate the body and the environment. In this study, timed pregnant CD1 outbred mice were treated with di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) from Embryonic Day 7 (E7) to E14. The subsequent generation (F1) offspring were then bred to produce the F2, F3, and F4 offspring, without any further DEHP treatment. This exposure scheme disrupted testicular germ cell association and decreased sperm count and motility in F1 to F4 offspring. By spermatogonial transplantation techniques, the exposure scheme also disrupted spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) function of F3 offspring. The W/W-V recipient testes transplanted with F3 offspring germ cells from the DEHP-treated group had a dramatically lower percentage of donor germ cell-derived spermatogenic recovery in seminiferous tubules when compared to the recipient testes transplanted with CD1 control germ cells. Further characterization showed that the major block of donor germ cell-derived spermatogenesis was before the appearance of undifferentiated spermatogonia. Interestingly, the testes transplanted with the F3 offspring germ cells from the DEHP-treated group, when regenerated, replicated testis morphology similar to that observed in the testes from the F1 to F3 offspring of the DEHP-treated group, suggesting that the germ cell disorganization phenotype originates from the stem cells of F3 offspring. In conclusion, embryonic exposure to DEHP was found to disrupt testicular germ cell organization and SSC function in a transgenerational manner.
Severe prenatal undernutrition is usually associated with low birth weights in offspring and disorders including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Whether alterations in maternal nutrition insufficient to impair birth weight or prenatal growth impact the cardiovascular, stress, or metabolic systems is unknown. In addition, little is known about the effects of maternal dietary restriction on development of the reproductive system in mammals. Here, we use the bovine model, which has a gestational length and birth rate similar to humans, to show that offspring from nutritionally restricted dams (during the first trimester) were born with identical birth weights and had similar postnatal growth rates (to 95 wk of age), puberty, glucose metabolism, and responses to stress compared to offspring from control mothers. However, an increase in maternal testosterone concentrations was detected during dietary restriction, and these dams had offspring with a diminished ovarian reserve (as assessed by a reduction in antral follicle count, reduced concentrations of anti-Mullerian hormone, and increased follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations), enlarged aorta, and increased arterial blood pressure compared with controls. Our study links transient maternal undernutrition and enhanced maternal androgen production with a diminished ovarian reserve as well as potential suboptimal fertility, enlarged aortic trunk size, and enhanced blood pressure independent of alterations in birth weight, postnatal growth, or stress response and glucose tolerance. The implications are that relatively mild transient reductions in maternal nutrition during the first trimester of pregnancy (even those that do not affect gross development) should be avoided to ensure healthy development of reproductive and cardiovascular systems in offspring.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening are widely accepted for chromosomal abnormality identification to avoid transferring embryos with genetic defects. Massively parallel sequencing (MPS) is a rapidly developing approach for genome analysis with increasing application in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to use MPS for identification of aneuploidies and unbalanced chromosomal rearrangements after blastocyst biopsy. Trophectoderm (TE) samples of 38 blastocysts from 16 in vitro fertilization cycles were subjected to analysis. Low-coverage whole genome sequencing was performed using the Illumina HiSeq2000 platform with a novel algorithm purposely created for chromosomal analysis. The efficiency of this MPS approach was estimated by comparing results obtained by an Affymetrix single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Whole genome amplification (WGA) products of TE cells were detected by MPS, with an average of 0.07x depth and 5.5% coverage of the human genome. Twenty-six embryos (68.4%) were detected as euploid, while six embryos (15.8%) contained uniform aneuploidies. Four of these (10.5%) were with solely unbalanced chromosomal rearrangements, whereas the remaining two embryos (5.3%) showed both aneuploidies and unbalanced rearrangements. Almost all these results were confirmed by the SNP array, with the exception of one sample, where different sizes of unbalanced rearrangements were detected, possibly due to chromosomal GC bias in array analysis. Our study demonstrated MPS could be applied to accurately detect embryonic chromosomal abnormality with a flexible and cost-effective strategy and higher potential accuracy.
Excessive release of syncytiotrophoblast extracellular vesicles (STBMs) from the placenta into the maternal circulation may contribute to the systemic inflammation that is characteristic of pre-eclampsia (PE). Other intravascular cells types (platelets, leukocytes, red blood cells [RBCs], and endothelium) may also be activated and release extracellular vesicles (EVs). We developed a multicolor flow cytometry antibody panel to enumerate and phenotype STBMs in relation to other EVs in plasma from nonpregnant (NonP) and normal pregnant (NormP) women, and women with late-onset PE. Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) was used to determine EV size and concentration. In vitro-derived STBMs and EVs from platelets, leukocytes, RBCs, and endothelial cells were examined to select suitable antibodies to analyze the corresponding plasma EVs. Flow cytometry analysis of plasma from NonP, NormP, and PE showed that STBMs comprised the smallest group of circulating EVs, whereas most were derived from platelets. The next most abundant group comprised unidentified orphan EVs (which did not label with any of the antibodies in the panel), followed by EVs from RBCs and leukocytes. NTA showed that the total number of EVs in plasma was significantly elevated in NormP and late-onset PE women compared to NonP controls, and that EVs were smaller in size. In general, EVs were elevated in pregnancy plasma apart from platelet EVs, which were reduced. These studies did not show any differences in EVs between NormP and PE, probably because late-onset PE was studied.
The quality of metaphase II oocytes deteriorates rapidly following ovulation as the result of an aging process associated with impaired fertilizing potential, disrupted developmental competence, and increased likelihood of embryonic resorption. Because oxidative stress accelerates the onset of apoptosis in oocytes and influences their capacity for fertilization, this study aimed to characterize the significance of such stress in the postovulatory aging of mouse oocytes in vitro. We investigated the ability of the potent antioxidant melatonin to arrest the aging process when used to supplement oocyte culture medium. This study demonstrated that oxidative stress may occur in oocytes after as little as 8 h in culture and coincides with the appearance of early apoptotic markers such as phosphatidylserine externalization, followed 16 h later by caspase activation (P < 0.05) and morphological evidence of oocyte senescence. Importantly, supplementation of oocyte culture medium with 1 mM melatonin was able to significantly relieve the time-dependent appearance of oxidative stress in oocytes (P < 0.05) and, as a result, significantly delay the onset of apoptosis (P < 0.05). Furthermore, melatonin supplementation extended the optimal window for fertilization of oocytes aged for 8 and 16 h in vitro (P < 0.05) and significantly improved the quality of the resulting embryos (P < 0.01). We conclude that melatonin may be a useful tool in a clinical setting to prevent the time-dependent deterioration of oocyte quality following prolonged culture in vitro.
Impaired biogenesis of microRNAs disrupts spermatogenesis and leads to infertility in male mice. Spermatogonial differentiation is a key step in spermatogenesis, yet the mechanisms that control this event remain poorly defined. In this study, we discovered microRNA 146 (Mir146) to be highly regulated during spermatogonial differentiation, a process dependent on retinoic acid (RA) signaling. Mir146 transcript levels were diminished nearly 180-fold in differentiating spermatogonia when compared with undifferentiated spermatogonia. Luciferase assays revealed the direct binding of Mir146 to the 3' untranslated region of the mediator complex subunit 1 (Med1), a coregulator of retinoid receptors (RARs and RXRs). Overexpression of Mir146 in cultured undifferentiated spermatogonia reduced Med1 transcript levels, as well as those of differentiation marker kit oncogene (Kit). MED1 protein was also diminished. Conversely, inhibition of Mir146 increased the levels of Kit. When undifferentiated spermatogonia were exposed to RA, Mir146 was downregulated along with a marker for undifferentiated germ cells, zinc finger and BTB domain containing 16 (Zbtb16; Plzf); Kit was upregulated. Overexpression of Mir146 in RA-treated spermatogonia inhibited the upregulation of Kit, stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8 (Stra8), and spermatogenesis-and oogenesis-specific basic helix-loop-helix 2 (Sohlh2). Inhibition of Mir146 in RA-treated spermatogonia greatly enhanced the upregulation of these genes. We conclude that Mir146 modulates the effects of RA on spermatogonial differentiation.
MicroRNAs are important regulators of developmental gene expression, but their contribution to fetal gonad development is not well understood. We have identified the evolutionarily conserved gonadal microRNAs miR-202-5p and miR-202-3p as having a potential role in regulating mouse embryonic gonad differentiation. These microRNAs are expressed in a sexually dimorphic pattern as the primordial XY gonad differentiates into a testis, with strong expression in Sertoli cells. In vivo, ectopic expression of pri-miR-202 in XX gonads did not result in molecular changes to the ovarian determination pathway. Expression of the primary transcript of miR-202-5p/3p remained low in XY gonads in a conditional Sox9-null mouse model, suggesting that pri-miR-202 transcription is downstream of SOX9, a transcription factor that is both necessary and sufficient for male sex determination. We identified the pri-miR-202 promoter that is sufficient to drive expression in XY but not XX fetal gonads ex vivo. Mutation of SOX9 and SF1 binding sites reduced ex vivo transactivation of the pri-miR-202 promoter, demonstrating that pri-miR-202 may be a direct transcriptional target of SOX9/SF1 during testis differentiation. Our findings indicate that expression of the conserved gonad microRNA, miR-202-5p/3p, is downstream of the testis-determining factor SOX9, suggesting an early role in testis development.
Epididymosomes are small membrane vesicles that are secreted by epididymal epithelial cells and are involved in posttesticular sperm maturation. Although their role in protein transfer to the sperm membrane is well documented, we report their capacity to transport microRNAs (miRNAs), which are potent regulators of posttranscriptional gene expression. Using a microperfusion technique combined with a global microarray approach, we demonstrated that epididymosomes from two discrete bovine epididymal regions (caput and cauda) possess distinct miRNA signatures. In addition, we also established that miRNA repertoires contained within epididymosomes differ from those of their parent epithelial cells, suggesting that miRNA populations released from the cells may be selectively sorted. Binding of DilC12-labeled epididymosomes to primary cultured epididymal cells was measured by flow cytometry, and the results indicated that epididymosomes from the median caput and their miRNA content may be incorporated into distal caput epithelial cells. Overall, these findings reveal that distinct miRNA repertoires are released into the intraluminal fluid in a region-specific manner and could be involved in a novel mechanism of intercellular communication throughout the epididymis via epididymosomes.
In mammals, the transcriptome of large noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) is believed to be greater than that of messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Some lncRNAs, especially large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs), participate in epigenetic regulation by binding chromatin-modifying protein complexes and regulating protein-coding gene expression. Given that epigenetic regulation plays a critical role in male germline development, we embarked on expression profiling of both lncRNAs and mRNAs during male germline reprogramming and postnatal development using microarray analyses. We identified thousands of lncRNAs and hundreds of lincRNAs that are either up-or downregulated at six critical time points during male germ cell development. In addition, highly regulated lncRNAs were correlated with nearby (<30 kb) mRNA gene clusters, which were also significantly up-or downregulated. Large ncRNAs can be localized to both the nucleus and cytoplasm, with nuclear lncRNAs mostly associated with key components of the chromatin-remodeling protein complexes. Our data indicate that expression of lncRNAs is dynamically regulated during male germline development and that lncRNAs may function to regulate gene expression at both transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms.
Human pregnancy is an immunological paradox. Semiallogeneic (fetal) placental cells (extravillous cytotrophoblasts [CTBs]) invade the uterine lining (decidua), which contains a unique decidual natural killer (dNK) cell population, identified by the cell surface phenotype CD56(bright) CD16(-) CD3(-) and CD14(+) CD206(+) macrophages (dMac). Previous reports suggested that human dNK cells are not a threat to the fetoplacental unit because they are anergic. In contrast, here we showed that purified and exogenously stimulated dNK cells are capable killers of cellular targets, including semiallogeneic CTBs. However, dMacs in the decidual leukocyte (DL) population restrained dNK killing through a transforming growth factor beta(1) (TGF-beta(1))-dependent mechanism. Our findings support a new model whereby dNK cells, capable of killing CTBs, are prevented from doing so by neighboring macrophages, thus protecting the fetal cells from NK cell attack. We speculate that this mechanism would inhibit dNK cell-mediated killing, even under conditions where high levels of cytokines may stimulate dNK cells, which could pose a threat to the developing placenta.
Uterine fibroids (leiomyomas) are the most common benign tumors associated with excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM)-associated proteins that increase fibroid tumorigenicity. Herein, we determined the expression levels of vitamin D receptor (VDR) protein in human uterine fibroids and compared these levels to those in adjacent normal myometrium. Using Western blot analysis, we found that more than 60% of uterine fibroids analyzed (25 of 40) expressed low levels of VDR. We also found that the biologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH](2)D3), which functions via binding to its nuclear VDR, induced VDR in a concentration-dependent manner and reduced ECM-associated fibrotic and proteoglycans expression in immortalized human uterine fibroid cell line (HuLM). At 1-10 nM concentrations, 1,25(OH)(2)D3 significantly induced (P < 0.05) nuclear VDR, which was further stimulated by higher concentrations of 1,25(OH)(2)D3 in HuLM cells. 1,25(OH)(2)D3 at 10 nM also significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the protein expression of ECM-associated collagen type 1, fibronectin, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) in HuLM cells. We also found that 1,25(OH)(2)D3 reduced mRNA and protein expressions of proteoglycans such as fibromodulin, biglycan, and versican in HuLM cells. Moreover, the aberrant expression of structural smooth muscle actin fibers was reduced by 1,25(OH)(2)D3 treatment in a concentration-dependent manner in HuLM cells. Taken together, our results suggest that human uterine fibroids express reduced levels of VDR compared to the adjacent normal myometrium and that treatment with 1,25(OH)(2)D3 can potentially reduce the aberrant expression of major ECM-associated proteins in HuLM cells. Thus, 1,25(OH)(2)D3 might be an effective, safe, nonsurgical treatment option for human uterine fibroids.
Metabolic conditions characterized by elevated free fatty acid concentrations in blood and follicular fluid are often associated with impaired female fertility. Especially elevated saturated fatty acid levels can be lipotoxic for several somatic cell types. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid on neutral lipids (fatty acids stored in lipid droplets) inside cumulus cells and oocytes and their developmental competence. To this end, cows were exposed to a short-term fasting period during final oocyte maturation. This resulted in elevated, but distinct, free fatty acid concentrations in blood and follicular fluid and a rise in the concentrations of in particular fatty acids with a chain length of 14-18 carbon atoms. Interestingly, elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid resulted in a massive increase in the level of neutral lipids in cumulus cells, whereas the level of neutral lipid in oocytes was hardly affected. Furthermore, competence of oocytes to develop to the blastocyst stage after fertilization and culture of cumulus-oocyte-complexes of the experimental and control group was not different. In conclusion these data suggest that short-term elevated free fatty acid concentrations in follicular fluid do not harm oocyte developmental competence. We propose that the involvement of high levels of mobilized oleic acid in follicular fluid in combination with the induced lipid storage in cumulus cells serves to prevent harmful saturated fatty acid exposure to the oocyte.
During the peri-implantation and early placentation periods in pigs, conceptuses (embryo and its extra-embryonic membranes) undergo dramatic morphological changes and differentiation that require the exchange of nutrients (histotroph) and gasses across the trophectoderm and a true epitheliochorial placenta. Of these nutrients, arginine (Arg), leucine (Leu), and glutamine (Gln) are essential components of histotroph; however, little is known about changes in their total amounts in the uterine lumen of cyclic and pregnant gilts and their effects on cell signaling cascades. Therefore, we determined quantities of Arg, Leu, and Gln in uterine luminal fluids and found that total recoverable amounts of these amino acids increased in pregnant but not cyclic gilts between Days 12 and 15 after onset of estrus. We hypothesized that Arg, Leu, and Gln have differential effects on hypertrophy, hyperplasia, and differentiated functions of trophectoderm cells that are critical to conceptus development. Primary porcine trophectoderm (pTr) cells treated with either Arg, Leu, or Gln had increased abundance of phosphorylated RPS6K, RPS6, and EIF4EBP1 compared to basal levels, and this effect was maintained for up to 120 min. When pTr cells were treated with Arg, Leu, and Gln, low levels of pRPS6K and pEIF4EBP1 were detected in the cytosol, but the abundance of nuclear pRPS6K increased. Immunofluorescence analyses revealed abundant amounts of pRPS6 protein in the cytoplasm of pTr cells treated with Arg, Leu, and Gln. These amino acids also increased proliferation of pTr cells. Furthermore, when Arg, Leu, and Gln were combined with siRNAs for either MTOR, RPTOR, or RICTOR, effects of those amino acids on proliferation of pTr cells were significantly inhibited. Collectively, these results indicate that Arg, Leu, and Gln act coordinately to stimulate proliferation of pTr cells through activation of the MTOR-RPS6K-RPS6-EIF4EBP1 signal transduction pathway.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play key regulatory roles in a range of biological processes, including cell differentiation and development. To identify miRNAs that participate in gonad differentiation, a fundamental and tightly regulated developmental process, we examined miRNA expression profiles at the time of sex determination and during the early fetal differentiation of mouse testes and ovaries using high-throughput sequencing. We identified several miRNAs that were expressed in a sexually dimorphic pattern, including several members of the let-7 family, miR-378, and miR-140-3p. We focused our analysis on the most highly expressed, sexually dimorphic miRNA, miR-140-3p, and found that both miR-140-3p and its more lowly expressed counterpart, the previously annotated guide strand, miR-140-5p, are testis enriched and expressed in testis cords. Analysis of the miR-140-5p/miR-140-3p-null mouse revealed a significant increase in the number of Leydig cells in the developing XY gonad, strongly suggesting an important role for miR-140-5p/miR-140-3p in testis differentiation in mouse.
Infections of the uterus or mammary gland with Gram-negative bacteria cause infertility in cattle, not only during disease but also for some time afterward. Even though these infections are in organs distant from the ovary, metritis and mastitis perturb antral follicle development and function in vivo. Although granulosa cells from antral follicles express toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and detect and mount an inflammatory response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Gram-negative bacteria, it is not known whether LPS impacts preantral follicle development. The present study tested the hypothesis that LPS perturbs the development of primordial ovarian follicles. Exposure of bovine ovarian cortex ex vivo to LPS reduced the primordial follicle pool associated with increased primordial follicle activation. Ovarian cortex culture supernatants accumulated the inflammatory mediators IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-8 in an LPS concentration-dependent manner. In addition, LPS exposure modulated key intracellular regulators of follicle activation with loss of the primordial follicle PTEN and cytoplasmic translocation of FOXO3. Acute exposure of mice in vivo to LPS also reduced the primordial follicle pool associated with increased follicle atresia. The increased follicle atresia was TLR4-dependent as Tlr4-deficient mice were insensitive to LPS-mediated follicle atresia. However, LPS did not affect the diameter of individually cultured bovine secondary follicles or their enclosed oocytes. In conclusion, LPS reduced the primordial ovarian follicle pool in the bovine ovarian cortex ex vivo and in the murine ovary in vivo. These observations provide an insight into how bacterial infections distant from the ovary have long term effects on fertility.
Preterm birth remains one of the most important issues facing perinatal medicine today, with chronic inflammation and/or infection being the biggest etiological factor. The nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD) intracellular molecules recognize a wide range of microbial products as well as other intracellular danger signals, thereby initiating inflammation through activation of nuclear factor KB (NFKB), a central regulator of the terminal processes of human labor and delivery. The aims of this study were to determine the effect of 1) human labor, proinflammatory cytokines, and bacterial endotoxin LPS on NOD1 and NOD2 expression and 2) NOD1 and NOD2 activation on the expression of prolabor mediators in human fetal membranes and myometrium. NOD1 and NOD2 expression was significantly higher in fetal membranes and myometrium after spontaneous labor when compared to nonlaboring tissues. Bacterial endotoxin LPS and the proinflammatory cytokines TNF and IL1B significantly increased NOD2, but not NOD1, expression. Furthermore, LPS-induced NOD2 expression was decreased by the NFKB inhibitor BAY 11-7082. In both fetal membranes and myometrium, the NOD1 ligand bacterial iE-DAP and the NOD2 ligand bacterial MDP significantly increased the expression and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines (IL6 and IL8), cyclooxygenase (PTGS2) expression and subsequent release of prostaglandins PGE(2) and PGF(2alpha), and the expression and activity of MMP9. The effects of these NOD1 and NOD2 ligands were mediated via NFKB, as 1) both iE-DAP and MDP significantly increased NFKB activation and 2) the NFKB inhibitor BAY 11-7082 attenuated iE-DAP- and MDP-induced expression and secretion of prolabor mediators. In conclusion, NOD1 and NOD2 are increased in laboring fetal membranes and myometrium and with bacterial infection. Agonist activation of NOD1 and NOD2 by bacterial products leads to NFKB activation and transcription of NFKB induced prolabor genes. NOD1 and NOD2 may thus represent therapeutic targets for the treatment and/or management of preterm birth.
In some animals, such as fish, insects, and cephalopods, the thick egg coat has a narrow canal-a micropyle-through which spermatozoa enter the eggs. In fish, there is no indication that spermatozoa are attracted by eggs from a distance, but once spermatozoa come near the outer opening of the micropyle, they exhibit directed movement toward it, suggesting that a substance exists in this defined region to attract spermatozoa. Since Coomassie Blue (CB) binds preferentially to the micropyle region in flounder, herring, steelhead, and other fish, it probably stains this sperm guidance substance. This substance-a glycoprotein based on lectin staining-is bound tightly to the surface of the chorion, but can be removed readily by protease treatment. Although fertilization in fish (flounder) is possible after removal of this substance, its absence makes fertilization inefficient, as reflected by a drastic reduction in fertilization rate. The sperm "attraction" to the micropyle opening is species specific and is dependent on extracellular Ca2+. Eggs of some insects, including Drosophila, have distinct micropyle caps with CB affinity, which also may prove to assist sperm entry. Our attempts to fertilize fly eggs in vitro were not successful.
ABSTRACT Uterine glands and their secretions are hypothesized to be essential for blastocyst implantation and decidualization in the uterus of rodents and humans. One factor solely expressed by uterine glands in mice is leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), and Lif null mice are infertile because of defective blastocyst attachment to the uterine luminal epithelium (LE). Progesterone treatment of neonatal mice permanently ablates differentiation of uterine glands, resulting in an aglandular uterus in the adult. Progesterone-induced uterine gland knockout (PUGKO) mice were used to investigate the biological role of uterine glands in blastocyst implantation and stromal cell decidualization. As compared to controls, PUGKO mice cycled normally but were infertile. Histological assessment of PUGKO uteri on Days 5.5 and 8.5 postmating found a hatched blastocyst apposed to an intact LE without evidence of implantation or stromal cell decidualization. Expression of several implantation-related factors, including Lif an...
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2) signaling pathways control protein synthesis in response to nutrient availability. Moreover, mTOR is a positive regulator of placental nutrient transport and is involved in the regulation of fetal growth. We hypothesized that maternal overweight, induced by a diet with high saturated fat content, i) up-regulates placental mTOR activity and nutrient transport, resulting in fetal overgrowth; ii) inhibits phosphorylation of eIF2 at its alpha subunit (eIF2alpha); and iii) leads to placental inflammation. Albino Wistar female rats were fed a control or high-saturated-fat (HF) diet for 7 wk before mating and during pregnancy. At Gestational Day 21, the HF diet significantly increased maternal and fetal triglyceride, leptin, and insulin (but not glucose) levels and maternal and fetal weights, and placental weights trended to increase. Phosphorylated 4EBP1 (T37/46 and S65) was significantly higher, and phosphorylated rpS6 (S235/236) tended to increase, in the placentas of dams fed an HF diet, indicating an activation of mTOR Complex 1 (mTORC1). Phosphorylation of AMPK and eIF2alpha was reduced in the HF diet group compared to the control. The expression and activity of placental nutrient transporters and lipoprotein lipase (LPL), as well as the activation of inflammatory pathways, were not altered by the maternal diet. We conclude that maternal overweight induced by an HF diet stimulates mTORC1 activity and decreases eIF2alpha phosphorylation in rat placentas. We speculate that these changes may up-regulate protein synthesis and contribute to placental and fetal overgrowth