We have data showing that gene expression and DNA methylation are sexually dimorphic in male and female placentae under normal/control conditions. Surprisingly, in stressful conditions, such as a high fat diet or low calorie diet, or maternal overweight/obesity - the male and female placentae do not use the same strategies: they use different gene pathways and networks to cope with the stress.
Does this directly lead to different outcomes? It may lead to sex-dependent differences in the outcome of programming with long lasting effects. Alternatively, it may be that metaphorically speaking males climb the mountain taking the north face while females take the south face - but they ultimately reach the same peak after using these different paths."
Professor Ricardo Closa Monasterolo from the University Rovira I Virgili of Tarragona, Italy, presents work that suggested that infant boys and girls might have different responses to lower or higher protein diets. Females given higher protein formula milk had higher IGF-1 levels than males, whilst males showed higher C-peptide/creatinine levels compared to females. The significance of lower or higher protein diets has also been examined in the EU Childhood Obesity Project (CHOP) co-ordinated by Professor Berthold Koletzko of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt (LMU) in Munich. Starting in 1990, over 1,000 infants were followed. The first results show that, after 2 years, the infants fed a formula milk with a lower protein content closer to the composition of breast milk - weighed significantly less
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