Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Diniz,W.J.S.;Ward, A.K.; McCarthy, K.L.; Kassetas, C.J.; Baumgaertner, F.; Reynolds, L.P.; Borowicz, P.P.; Sedivec, K.K.; Kirsch, J.D.; Dorsam, S.T.; et al. Periconceptual Maternal Nutrition Affects Fetal Liver Programming of Energy- and Lipid-Related Genes. Animals 2023, 13, 600. https://


Open access.


During pregnancy, the fetus relies on the dam for its nutrient supply. Nutritional stimuli during fetal organ development can program hepatic metabolism and function. Herein, we investigated the role of vitamin and mineral supplementation (VTM or NoVTM—at least 71 days pre-breeding to day 83 of gestation) and rate of weight gain (low (LG) or moderate (MG)—from breeding to day 83) on the fetal liver transcriptome and the underlying biological pathways. Crossbred Angus beef heifers (n = 35) were randomly assigned to one of four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design (VTM_LG, VTM_MG, NoVTM_LG, and NoVTM_MG). Gene expression was measured with RNA-Seq in fetal livers collected on day 83 ± 0.27 of gestation. Our results show that vitamin and mineral supplementation and rate of weight gain led to the differential expression of hepatic genes in all treatments. We identified 591 unique differentially expressed genes across all six VTM-gain contrasts (FDR ≤ 0.1). Over-represented pathways were related to energy metabolism, including PPAR and PI3K-Akt signaling pathways, as well as lipid metabolism, mineral transport, and amino acid transport. Our findings suggest that periconceptual maternal nutrition affects fetal hepatic function through altered expression of energy- and lipid-related genes.