Fishmeal Supplementation During Gestation and Lactation Protects Offspring Against Maternal Simulated Infection Induced Programming
Adverse uterine environments caused by stressors such as an infection during pregnancy can alter the programming of the fetus, increasing the risk of adulthood inflammatory disease. Supplementation with fishmeal (FM; rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; n-3 PUFAs) during pregnancy may help to reduce this risk. To test this hypothesis, 53 ewes were allocated to either a diet supplemented with FM or soybean meal (SM; rich in n-6 PUFAs), and on gestation day 135 (gd135) half the ewes from each dietary treatment were challenged with either 1.2 μg/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to simulate a bacterial infection, or saline as a control (CON). The cortisol response of the offspring was assessed at weaning ± ACTH challenge, and during adulthood by LPS endotoxin challenge. Immune responsiveness of the adult offspring was assessed with a skin hypersensitivity test using antigens, ovalbumin (OVA) and candida albicans (CAA), and by measuring the OVA-specific serum antibody response. The FM+LPS treatment lambs had the greatest cortisol response compared to all other treatment groups during both weaning and endotoxin challenge. In contrast, the SM+LPS lambs had a greater cortisol response compared to the SM+CON treatment group during weaning + ACTH challenge. The SM+LPS offspring had the greatest hypersensitivity response to both OVA and CAA as well as the greatest serum IgG response to OVA compared to all other treatment groups. Lastly, the expression of hippocampal glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid receptor genes (GR and MR) were shown to be different, with FM+LPS females having greater GR expression compared to SM+LPS females, while the reverse was true for MR. These data suggest that FM may help protect the offspring from immune system and HPAA programming during maternal infection. Future studies need to focus on the mechanisms behind these alterations.