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Open Access Exposure of Preimplantation Embryos to Insulin Alters Expression of Imprinted Genes

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Insulin promotes early embryonic development, but whether this action affects postimplantation fetal development and alters the expression of imprinted genes remain to be determined. This study analyzed the expression and methylation levels of the growthrelated imprinted genes H19 and insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) in fetuses exposed to insulin before implantation. We cultured 2-cell embryos in either 0 or 0.25 g/ml insulin until the blastocyst stage and then transferred them into pseudopregnant recipient mice. The number of embryos developing to blastocysts after insulin exposure was 16.4% higher than that of the control, and the birth body weight of the insulin-exposed group was 17.8% higher than that of the control group. Real-time reverse transcription– polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that exposure of preimplantation embryos to insulin increased the mRNA expression of both Igf2 and H19 in embryonic day (E) 14 fetuses. Bisulfite genomic sequencing demonstrated that the methylation level of the H19–Igf2 imprint control region was 19.3% lower in insulin-exposed E14 fetuses than in controls. The present study indicates that insulin exposure during the preimplantation stage alters the expression of imprinted genes and affects fetal development.

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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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