Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, plays a critical role in calcium homeostasis, the immune system, and normal development. Many epidemiological cohort studies globally have found high prevalence rates of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, recognized as an important health issue that needs to be solved. In particular, reproductive age and pregnant women low in vitamin D status may confer risks of diseases like obesity on their offspring. While observational studies have suggested associations between prenatal vitamin D deficiency and metabolic phenotypes in offspring, not yet determined is whether prenatal vitamin D deficiency permanently alters the development of the liver, a major metabolic organ. We tested the histopathology and the transcriptomic profiles of livers from male C57BL/6J mice exposed to prenatal vitamin D deficiency through a maternal dietary intervention model. We found that prenatal vitamin D deficiency increases the prevalence of histopathological changes in the liver, and alters its gene expression profile. Cell subtype proportion analysis showed that the liver of prenatal vitamin D deficiency alters non-parenchymal cells of the liver, specifically macrophages, a subset of endothelial cells, and dendritic cells. Our results indicate the long-term memory of prenatal vitamin D deficiency exposure in the adult liver, a potential contributor to offspring health risks.
- DOHaD (developmental origins of health and disease)
- prenatal environment
- transcriptional alterations
- vitamin D deficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism