1. Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071
2. Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164
All important developmental milestones are accomplished during the fetal stage, and nutrient fluctuation during this stage produces lasting effects on offspring health, so called fetal programming or developmental programming. The fetal stage is critical for skeletal muscle development, as well as adipose and connective tissue development. Maternal under-nutrition at this stage affects the proliferation of myogenic precursor cells and reduces the number of muscle fibers formed. Maternal over-nutrition results in impaired myogenesis and elevated adipogenesis. Because myocytes, adipocytes and fibrocytes are all derived from mesenchymal stem cells, molecular events which regulate the commitment of stem cells to different lineages directly impact fetal muscle and adipose tissue development. Recent studies indicate that microRNA is intensively involved in myogenic and adipogenic differentiation from mesenchymal stem cells, and epigenetic changes such as DNA methylation are expected to alter cell lineage commitment during fetal muscle and adipose tissue development.
Keywords: Maternal nutrition, fetal muscle development