Maternal feeding controls fetal biological clock

Hidenobu Ohta, Shanhai Xu, Takahiro Moriya, Masayuki Ligo, Tatsuya Watanabe, Norimichi Nakahata, Hiroshi Chisaka, Takushi Hanita, Tadashi Matsuda, Toshihiro Ohura, Yushitaka Kimura, Nobuo Yaegashi, Shigeru Tsuchiya, Hajime Tei, Kunihiro Okamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is widely accepted that circadian physiological rhythms of the fetus are affected by oscillators in the maternal brain that are coupled to the environmental light-dark (LD) cycle. Methodology/Prindpal Findings: To study the link between fetal and maternal biological clocks, we investigated the effects of cycles of maternal food availability on the rhythms of Per1 gene expression in the fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and liver using a transgenic rat model whose tissues express luciferase in vitro. Although the maternal 5CN remained phase-locked to the LD cycle, maternal restricted feeding phase-advanced the fetal SCN and liver by 5 and 7 hours respectively within the 22-day pregnancy. Conclusions:/Significant: Our results demonstrate that maternal feeding entrains the fetal SCN and liver independently of both the maternal SCN and the LD cycle. This indicates that maternal-feeding signals can be more influential for the fetal SCN and particular organ oscillators than hormonal signals controlled by the maternal SCN, suggesting the importance of a regular maternal feeding schedule for appropriate fetal molecular clockwork during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2601
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul 2
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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