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Maternal folic acid supplementation does not counteract the deleterious impact of prenatal exposure to environmental pollutants on lipid homeostasis in male rat descendants

  • Pauline Navarro (a1) (a2) (a3), Mathieu Dalvai (a3), Phanie L. Charest (a3), Pauline M. Herst (a3), Maryse Lessard (a3), Bruno Marcotte (a2) (a4), Patricia L. Mitchell (a2) (a4), Nadine Leblanc (a1) (a2), Sarah Kimmins (a5) (a6), Jacquetta Trasler (a7), Amanda J. MacFarlane (a8), André Marette (a2) (a4), Janice L. Bailey (a3) and Hélène Jacques (a1) (a2)...


Prenatal exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been associated with the development of metabolic syndrome-related diseases in offspring. According to epidemiological studies, father’s transmission of environmental effects in addition to mother’s can influence offspring health. Moreover, maternal prenatal dietary folic acid (FA) may beneficially impact offspring health. The objective is to investigate whether prenatal FA supplementation can overcome the deleterious effects of prenatal exposure to POPs on lipid homeostasis and inflammation in three generations of male rat descendants through the paternal lineage. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (F0) were exposed to a POPs mixture (or corn oil) +/− FA supplementation for 9 weeks before and during gestation. F1 and F2 males were mated with untreated females. Plasma and hepatic lipids were measured in F1, F2, and F3 males after 12-h fast. Gene expression of inflammatory cytokines was determined by qPCR in epididymal adipose tissue. In F1 males, prenatal POPs exposure increased plasma lipids at 14 weeks old and hepatic lipids at 28 weeks old and prenatal FA supplementation decreased plasma total cholesterol at 14 weeks old. Prenatal POPs exposure decreased plasma triglycerides at 14 weeks old in F2 males. No change was observed in inflammatory markers. Our results show an impact of the paternal lineage on lipid homeostasis in rats up to the F2 male generation. FA supplementation of the F0 diet, regardless of POPs exposure, lowered plasma cholesterol in F1 males but failed to attenuate the deleterious effects of prenatal POPs exposure on plasma and hepatic lipids in F1 males.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Hélène Jacques, School of Nutrition, Pavillon Paul-Comtois, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. Email:


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