Paternal diet programs offspring health through sperm- and seminal plasma-specific pathways in mice

Adam J. Watkins, Irundika Dias, Heather Tsuro, Danielle Allen, Richard D. Emes, Joanna Moreton, Ray Wilson, Richard J. M. Ingram, Kevin D. Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parental health and diet at the time of conception determine the development and life-long disease risk of their offspring. While the association between poor maternal diet and offspring health is well established, the underlying mechanisms linking paternal diet with offspring health are poorly defined. Possible programming pathways include changes in testicular and sperm epigenetic regulation and status, seminal plasma composition, and maternal reproductive tract responses regulating early embryo development. In this study, we demonstrate that paternal low-protein diet induces sperm-DNA hypomethylation in conjunction with blunted female reproductive tract embryotrophic, immunological, and vascular remodeling responses. Furthermore, we identify sperm- and seminal plasma-specific programming effects of paternal diet with elevated offspring adiposity, metabolic dysfunction, and altered gut microbiota.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10064-10069
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number40
Early online date22 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.
This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).


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