University of California Irvine study: Roots of schizophrenia: Excess of methionine during pregnancy?

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explained why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

Science Daily reported in Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy:

Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Healthy maternal diets have been linked to reduced risks of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, preeclampsia and maternal obesity.
“Unlike many other pregnancy and birth risk factors, diet is something we can improve,” said lead author Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate professor and vice chair of research in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “While attention should be given to improving nutritional counseling at doctor appointments, overarching societal and policy changes that help women to make healthy dietary choices may be more effective and efficient.”
Bodnar and her colleagues analyzed the results of questionnaires completed by 7,511 women who were between six and 14 weeks pregnant and enrolled in The Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers to Be, which followed women who enrolled in the study at one of eight U.S. medical centers. The women reported on their dietary habits during the three months around conception.
The diets were assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures 12 key aspects of diet quality, including adequacy of intake for key food groups, as well as intake of refined grains, salt and empty calories (all calories from solid fats and sugars, plus calories from alcohol beyond a moderate level).
Nearly a quarter of the white women surveyed had scores that fell into the highest scoring fifth of those surveyed, compared with 14 percent of the Hispanic women and 4.6 percent of the black women. Almost half — 44 percent — of black mothers had a score in the lowest scoring fifth…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170317082514.htm

Citation:

Women, particularly minorities, do not meet nutrition guidelines shortly before pregnancy
Date: March 17, 2017
Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Black, Hispanic and less-educated women consume a less nutritious diet than their well-educated, white counterparts in the weeks leading up to their first pregnancy, according to the only large-scale analysis of preconception adherence to national dietary guidelines. The study also found that, while inequalities exist, none of the women in any racial and socioeconomic group evaluated achieved recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Journal Reference:
1. Uma M. Reddy, MD et al. Racial or Ethnic and Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adherence to National Dietary Guidance in a Large Cohort of US Pregnant Women. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.01.016

Science Daily reported in Roots of schizophrenia: Excess of methionine during pregnancy?

An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, University of California, Irvine pharmacology researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The findings point to the role methionine overload can play during pregnancy and suggest that targeting the effects of this amino acid may lead to new antipsychotic drugs.
The UCI study also provides detailed information on the neural developmental mechanisms of the methionine effect, which results in changes in the expression of several genes important to healthy brain growth and, in particular, to one linked to schizophrenia in humans.
Amal Alachkar and colleagues based their approach on studies from the 1960s and 1970s in which schizophrenic patients injected with methionine experienced worsened symptoms. Knowing that schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, the UCI team hypothesized that administering three times the normal daily input of methionine to pregnant mice may produce pups that have also schizophrenia-like deficits, which is what occurred….
“Our study also agrees with the saying, ‘we are what our mothers ate’,” Alachkar added. “Methionine is one of the building blocks of proteins. It is not synthesized by our bodies, and it needs to be ingested. Our study points at the very important role of excess dietary methionine during pregnancy in fetal development, which might have a long-lasting influence on the offspring. This is a very exciting area of research that we hope can be explored in greater depth.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170816100305.htm

Citation:

Roots of schizophrenia: Excess of methionine during pregnancy?
Date: August 16, 2017
Source: University of California – Irvine
Summary:
An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, pharmacology researchers report.
Journal Reference:
1. A Alachkar, L Wang, R Yoshimura, A R Hamzeh, Z Wang, N Sanathara, S M Lee, X Xu, G W Abbott, O Civelli. Prenatal one-carbon metabolism dysregulation programs
schizophrenia-like deficits. Molecular Psychiatry, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2017.164

Here is the press release from UC Irvine:

Public Release: 15-Aug-2017
UCI study uncovers possible roots of schizophrenia
Excess of methionine during pregnancy alters prenatal brain development related to the psychiatric disease
University of California – Irvine
Irvine, Calif., Aug. 15, 2017 – An abundance of an amino acid called methionine, which is common in meat, cheese and beans, may provide new clues to the fetal brain development that can manifest in schizophrenia, University of California, Irvine pharmacology researchers report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
The findings point to the role methionine overload can play during pregnancy and suggest that targeting the effects of this amino acid may lead to new antipsychotic drugs.
The UCI study also provides detailed information on the neural developmental mechanisms of the methionine effect, which results in changes in the expression of several genes important to healthy brain growth and, in particular, to one linked to schizophrenia in humans.
Amal Alachkar and colleagues based their approach on studies from the 1960s and 1970s in which schizophrenic patients injected with methionine experienced worsened symptoms. Knowing that schizophrenia is a developmental disorder, the UCI team hypothesized that administering three times the normal daily input of methionine to pregnant mice may produce pups that have also schizophrenia-like deficits, which is what occurred.
The pups of the injected mothers displayed deficits in nine different tests encompassing the three schizophrenia-like symptoms behaviors – “positive” symptoms of overactivity and stereotypy, “negative” symptoms of human interaction deficits, and “cognitive impairments” memory loss.
The research team treated the mice with anti-schizophrenic drugs well used in therapy. A drug that in schizophrenics treats mostly the positive symptoms (haloperidol) did the same in the mice, and a drug that treat preferentially the negative symptoms and the cognitive impairments (clozapine) did the same.
Alachkar, an associate adjunct professor of pharmacology, said that the study is the first to present a mouse model based on methionine-influenced neural development that leads to schizophrenic-like behaviors.
“This mouse model provides much broader detail of biological processes of schizophrenia and thus reflect much better the disorder than in the animal models presently widely used in drug discovery,” said Olivier Civelli, chair and professor of pharmacology and an author on the paper.
“Our study also agrees with the saying, ‘we are what our mothers ate’,” Alachkar added. “Methionine is one of the building blocks of proteins. It is not synthesized by our bodies, and it needs to be ingested. Our study points at the very important role of excess dietary methionine during pregnancy in fetal development, which might have a long-lasting influence on the offspring. This is a very exciting area of research that we hope can be explored in greater depth.”
###
The study received support from the National Institutes of Health (DA024746), the UCI’s Center for Autism Research & Translation, the Eric L and Lila D Nelson Chair of Neuropharmacology, and the Institute of International Education.
Link to study: http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2017164a.html?foxtrotcallback=true
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Media Contact
Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455

@UCIrvine
http://www.uci.edu
University of California – Irvine
Journal
Molecular Psychiatry
Funder
National Institutes of Health
Original Source
http://www.som.uci.edu/news_releases/uc-irvine-study-finds-possible-roots-of-schizophrenia.asp
Related Journal Article
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2017

Learn more about prenatal and preconception care.

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

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