Maternal Phenotype, Directly Measured Physical Activity and Associations with Placenta Nutrient Transport Related Gene Expression

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Title: Maternal Phenotype, Directly Measured Physical Activity and Associations with Placenta Nutrient Transport Related Gene Expression
Authors: Brett, Kendra Elizabeth
Date: 2015
Abstract: The intrauterine environment plays an important role in fetal development and downstream health. Given the rise in maternal obesity and the incidence of babies being born large-for-gestational-age, research is needed exploring the mechanisms through which maternal obesity and health behaviours affect the delivery of nutrients to the fetus. This thesis includes three manuscripts in the pursuit of two objectives: 1) To determine whether there are changes in placenta nutrient transport-related gene expression in response to obesity, excess gestational weight gain, and variations physical activity and diet, and 2) To examine whether the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire is a reliable estimate of physical activity during the second trimester of pregnancy. In manuscript 1, we found that maternal obesity was not related to placenta nutrient transport-related gene expression, with the exception of lower placental mTOR expression in obese women who delivered male offspring, however, gestational weight gain was related to the gene expression of key proteins in the placenta. In manuscript 2, it was determined that the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire significantly overestimates physical activity and is not correlated with direct measures of activity and thus should not be used in future research. In manuscript 3, we found that physical activity and diet modify the expression of the genes involved in placenta nutrient transport. Meeting physical activity guidelines was associated with lower expression of a fatty acid transporter and higher expression of an amino acid transporter, while sugar intake was related to the expression of a glucose transporter. Together, the studies that make up this thesis suggest that there are numerous factors that may be contributing to placenta nutrient transport-related gene expression in humans and that future research on the placenta ought to include direct measures of physical activity and maternal diet, as well as account for gestational weight gain with respect to the guidelines and fetal sex.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/32514
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-6670
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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