Mehedint, M.G., Craciunescu, C.N., Zeisel, S.H. (2010)Maternal dietary choline deficiency alters angiogenesis in fetal mouse hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 107(29): 12834-39. PMCID: PMC2919920.
We examined whether maternal dietary choline modulates angiogenesis in fetal brain. Pregnant C57BL/6 mice were fed either a choline-deficient (CD), control (CT), or choline-supplemented diet (CS) from days 12 to 17 (E12-17) of pregnancy and then fetal brains were studied. In CD fetal hippocampus, proliferation of endothelial cells (EC) was decreased by 32% (p < 0.01 vs. CT or CS) while differentiated EC clusters (expressing factor VIII related antigen (RA)) increased by 25% (p < 0.01 vs. CT or CS). These changes were associated with > 25% decrease in the number of blood vessels in CD fetal hippocampus (p < 0.01 vs. CT and CS), with no change in total cross-sectional area of these blood vessels. Expression of genes for the angiogenic signals derived from both endothelial and neuronal progenitor cells (NPC) was increased in CD fetal hippocampus VEGF C (Vegfc), 2.0-fold, p < 0.01 vs. CT and angiopoietin 2 (Angpt2), 2.1-fold, (p < 0.01 vs. CT)). Similar increased expression was observed in NPC isolated from E14 fetal mouse brains and exposed to low (5 microM), CT (70 microM), or high choline (280 microM) media for 72 h (low choline caused a 9.7-fold increase in relative gene expression of Vegfc (p < 0.001 vs. CT and high) and a 3.4-fold increase in expression of Angpt2, (p < 0.05 vs. CT and high). ANGPT2 protein was increased 42.2% (p < 0.01). Cytosine-phosphate-guanine dinucleotide islands in the proximity of the promoter areas of Vegfc and Angpt2 were hypomethylated in low choline NPC compared to CT NPC (p < 0.01). We conclude that maternal dietary choline intake alters angiogenesis in the developing fetal hippocampus.