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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #401669

Research Project: Optimizing Nutrient Management and Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition, Growth and Physiology

Title: Concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in maternal serum and fetal fluids, metabolite interrelationships, and hepatic transcript...of key folate and methionine cycle genes: The impacts of...nutrition...50 d of gestation

item SYRING, JESSICA - North Dakota State University
item Crouse, Matthew
item NEVILLE, TAMMI - North Dakota State University
item WARD, ALISON - North Dakota State University
item DAHLEN, CARL - North Dakota State University
item REYNOLDS, LAWRENCE - North Dakota State University
item BOROWICZ, PAWEL - North Dakota State University
item MCLEAN, KYLE - University Of Tennessee
item Neville, Bryan
item CATON, JOEL - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2023
Publication Date: 5/2/2023
Citation: Syring, J.G., Crouse, M.S., Neville, T.L., Ward, A.K., Dahlen, C.R., Reynolds, L.P., Borowicz, P.P., McLean, K.J., Neville, B.W., Caton, J.S. 2023. Concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in maternal serum and fetal fluids, metabolite interrelationships, and hepatic transcript abundance of key folate and methionine cycle genes: The impacts of maternal nutrition during the first 50 d of gestation. Journal of Animal Science. 101(1). Article skad139.

Interpretive Summary: When pregnant cattle have restricted access to feed or specific nutrients, calf development can be affected, and the degree of impairment depends, at least partially, on timing, duration, and severity of the limitations. A biochemical pathway present in cells that can be affected by limited nutrition is one-carbon metabolism. This pathway is related to epigenetics, which regulates gene expression or the turning on and off of genes. Two important vitamins in one-carbon metabolism are vitamins B12 and folate. By understanding the amounts of those vitamins available to the developing calf, we can gain better insight into the regulation and potential avenues of improvement of calf growth and development. In this study, we found a nutrient restricted maternal diet increased the amount of B12 and folate in calf allantoic and amniotic fluids. We also found that folate and B12 were correlated to the presence of other nutrients in serum, allantoic fluid, and amniotic fluid. In addition, we found that a protein methylating gene in one-carbon metabolism had increased expression in calves from heifers receiving limited nutrition. This study is an important step in understanding how the nutrients available to a pregnant heifer during gestation affects nutrients available to the conceptus.

Technical Abstract: Adequate maternal nutrition is key for proper fetal development and epigenetic programming. One-carbon metabolites (OCM), including vitamin B12, folate, choline, and methionine, play a role in epigenetic mechanisms associated with developmental programming. This study investigated the presence of B12 and folate in maternal serum, allantoic fluid (ALF), and amniotic fluid (AMF), as well as how those concentrations in all three fluids correlate to the concentrations of methionine-folate cycle intermediates in heifers receiving either a control (CON) or restricted (RES) diet for the first 50 days of gestation and fetal hepatic gene expression for methionine-folate cycle enzymes. Angus cross heifers (n = 43) were estrus synchronized, bred via artificial insemination with semen from a single sire, and randomly assigned to one of two nutrition treatments (CON = 20, RES = 23). Heifers were ovariohysterectomized on either d 16 (n = 14), 34 (n = 15), or 50 of gestation (n = 14), where samples of maternal serum (n = 42), ALF (n = 29), and AMF (n = 11) were collected and analyzed for concentrations of folate and B12. Concentrations of B12 and folate in ALF were greater (P < 0.05) in RES compared to CON. For ALF, folate concentrations were also greater (P < 0.01) on d 34 compared to d 50. There was a significant (P = 0.04) nutrition × fluid interaction for B12 concentrations where concentrations were greatest in restricted ALF, intermediate in control ALF, and lowest in CON and RES serum and AMF. Folate concentrations were greatest (P < 0.01) in ALF, intermediate in serum, and lowest in AMF. Additionally, positive correlations (P < 0.05) were found between ALF and AMF folate concentrations and AMF concentrations of methionine, serine, and glycine. Negative correlations (P < 0.05) between AMF folate and serum homocysteine were also observed. Both positive and negative correlations (P < 0.05) depending on the fluid evaluated were found between B12 and methionine, serine, and glycine concentrations. There was a downregulation (P = 0.05) of dihydrofolate reductase and upregulation (P = 0.03) of arginine methyltransferase 7 gene expression in RES fetal liver samples compared with CON fetal liver on day 50. Combined, these data show restricted maternal nutrition results in increased B12 and folate concentrations present in fetal fluids, and increased expression of genes for enzymes within one-carbon metabolism.