Dr Susan Ozanne, a British Heart Foundation Senior Fellow, who led the work at the University of Cambridge, adds "It has been known for a while that your mother's diet during pregnancy plays an important role in your adult health, but the mechanisms in the body that underlie this aren't well understood. We have shown in detail how one mechanism links poor maternal diet to diabetes and other diseases that develop as we age."
Dr Ozanne and Professor Willis and their team found that miR-483-3p works by suppressing a protein called GDF3. When they studied a group of adult humans who were born with a low birth weight, they found that GDF3 protein was present at around only thirty percent of the levels found in people born at a normal weight.
Professor Willis, Director of the MRC Toxicology Unit, adds "Improving people's diets and encouraging exercise is clearly the best way to combat the epidemic of diabetes and diet-related disease which is sweeping through our society. However some people are at particular risk of these diseases, despite not looking visibly overweight. This research will hopefully allow us to help these people to take precautionary steps to reduce their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes."
Professor Douglas Kell, Chief Executive of BBSRC said "People are continuing to live ever longer and healthier lives thanks to improvements in nutrition and healthcare. However modern diets and lifestyles are posing new challenges to which our bodies sometimes seem poorly adapted and this has caused unforeseen health problems.
"If we are to remain healthy throughout our lives and into old age it is vital that scientists work to understand our fundamental biology in the context of social and environmental changes. By identifying a mechanism that links maternal diet to
|Contact: Mike Davies|
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council