What your grandmother ate long ago may affect your brain: ScienceAlert

They say you are what you eat, but most likely, You are also what your mother ate And Your grandmother ate before her.

A new study of animal pregnancy adds to the growing evidence that a mother’s environment can influence her young’s long-term metabolism.

This intergenerational effect was first observed in 1909 among juvenile silk moths. The behavior of these moths during the winter did not stem from specific inherited genes, but rather stemmed from how their bodies read these genes, turning them on or off.

This outcome was regulated by the mother’s environment.

Since then, the possibility of these ‘epigenetic’ changes has been observed in Many other types of animalsAnd Including usHow did they cross the generational boundaries? Still not confirmed.

Researchers at Monash University in Australia have now found evidence of female silkworms (Certain types are elegant) giving their children and grandchildren extra brain protection when eating certain types of food.

The study was not performed on humans, however C. elegans Sharing so many genes with our species, it provides some interesting insights into how epigenetic changes work across the natural world.

If the germ cells, such as eggs or sperm, have been altered in some way by the mother’s diet while she is in the womb, Studies show It can stick to offspring through thick and thin.

When the scientists fed roundworm larvae, it called a molecule common in apples and herbs Ursolic acidthey observed that the offspring were somewhat protected from the natural breakdown in neural connectivity.

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Specifically, ursolic acid appears to “turn on” a gene in the worms, which makes a specific type of lipid, sphingosine-1-phosphate, known as sphingolipid. This fat prevents the axons of nerve cells in the brain from weakening, and preliminary results indicate that the fat can pass from the gut of the mother worms to the eggs in their uterus.

In the offspring of the worms, the researchers found that increased levels of specific sphingolipids led to significant metabolic changes, and were maintained throughout evolution and for one more generation.

“This is the first time it has been shown that lipids/fats are inherited,” He says Biomedical researcher Roger Pocock of Monash.

Furthermore, feeding a mother sphingolipids protects the axons of two generations later. This means that a mother’s diet can influence not only the brain of her offspring but potentially subsequent generations. Our work supports a healthy diet during pregnancy for overall brain development and health. ideal.”

a review From the paper by American geneticist Nicholas Burton V nature It provides some important context.

C. elegans It’s an oviparous animal, Burton Explain, which means that his eggs hatch after being laid. It is not clear whether the findings of the current study extend to viviparous animals, such as mammals, that live young.

However, Burton notes that epidemiological studies in humans show that low birth weight, sometimes as a result of nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy, can increase offspring’s risk of later metabolic problems, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Burton Hopes Studies of model organisms such as C. elegans It may pave the way for many new discoveries about how and why animals link maternal and infant metabolism.”

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The study has been published in Nature Cell Biology.

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