Gene and protein expression profiles in the foetal liver of the pregnant rat fed a low protein diet

Christopher J McNeil, Susan M Hay, Garry J Rucklidge, Martin D Reid, Gary J Duncan, William David Rees

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Foetal growth is particularly sensitive to the protein content of the mother's diet. Microarray data from the foetal liver of pregnant rats fed normal (HP) or reduced protein diets (LP) were compared by gene set enrichment analysis. Soluble proteins from a second portion of the liver were analysed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Genes associated with progesterone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor were upregulated in HP compared to LP, in addition to genes associated with cell differentiation and signalling from the extracellular matrix. In contrast, cytokine signalling was downregulated. Proteomics showed that proteins associated with amino acid metabolism, mitochondrial function and cell motility were differentially abundant in the HP compared to the LP groups. These growth factor and extracellular matrix signalling pathways linked to cell motility may be important mediators of the changes in liver structure that occur in utero and persist into adult life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalGenes & Nutrition
Issue number3
Early online date30 May 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


  • programming
  • hepatic development
  • metabolism
  • foetal origins of disease
  • lipid-metabolism
  • growth
  • restriction
  • hepatocytes
  • endocrine
  • fetus
  • life


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