Background: Methionine (Met) supply during late-pregnancy enhances fetal development in utero and leads to greater rates of growth during the neonatal period. Due to its central role in coordinating nutrient and one-carbon metabolism along with immune responses of the newborn, the liver could be a key target of the programming effects induced by dietary methyl donors such as Met. To address this hypothesis, liver biopsies from 4-day old calves (n = 6/group) born to Holstein cows fed a control or the control plus ethyl-cellulose rumen-protected Met for the last 28 days prepartum were used for DNA methylation, transcriptome, metabolome, proteome, and one-carbon metabolism enzyme activities. Results: Although greater withers and hip height at birth in Met calves indicated better development in utero, there were no differences in plasma systemic physiological indicators. RNA-seq along with bioinformatics and transcription factor regulator analyses revealed broad alterations in ‘Glucose metabolism’, ‘Lipid metabolism, ‘Glutathione’, and ‘Immune System’ metabolism due to enhanced maternal Met supply. Greater insulin sensitivity assessed via proteomics, and efficiency of transsulfuration pathway activity suggested beneficial effects on nutrient metabolism and metabolic-related stress. Maternal Met supply contributed to greater phosphatidylcholine synthesis in calf liver, with a role in very low density lipoprotein secretion as a mechanism to balance metabolic fates of fatty acids arising from the diet or adipose-depot lipolysis. Despite a lack of effect on hepatic amino acid (AA) transport, a reduction in metabolism of essential AA within the liver indicated an AA ‘sparing effect’ induced by maternal Met. Conclusions: Despite greater global DNA methylation, maternal Met supply resulted in distinct alterations of hepatic transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome profiles after birth. Data underscored an effect on maintenance of calf hepatic Met homeostasis, glutathione, phosphatidylcholine and taurine synthesis along with greater efficiency of nutrient metabolism and immune responses. Transcription regulators such as FOXO1, PPARG, E2F1, and CREB1 appeared central in the coordination of effects induced by maternal Met. Overall, maternal Met supply induced better immunometabolic status of the newborn liver, conferring the calf a physiologic advantage during a period of metabolic stress and suboptimal immunocompetence.
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
- Dietary Supplements
- Methyl donor
- Nutritional programming