Pregnancy Suppresses the Daily Rhythmicity of Core Body Temperature and Adipose Metabolic Gene Expression in the Mouse

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Abstract

Maternal adaptations in lipid metabolism are crucial for pregnancy success due to the role of white adipose tissue as an energy store and the dynamic nature of energy needs across gestation. Because lipid metabolism is regulated by the rhythmic expression of clock genes, it was hypothesized that maternal metabolic adaptations involve changes in both adipose clock gene expression and the rhythmic expression of downstream metabolic genes. Maternal core body temperature (Tc) was investigated as a possible mechanism driving pregnancy-induced changes in clock gene expression. Gonadal adipose tissue and plasma were collected from C57BL/6J mice before and on days 6, 10, 14, and 18 of pregnancy (term 19 d) at 4-hour intervals across a 24-hour period. Adipose expression of clock genes and downstream metabolic genes were determined by quantitative RT-PCR, and Tc was measured by intraperitoneal temperature loggers. Adipose clock gene expression showed robust rhythmicity throughout pregnancy, but absolute levels varied substantially across gestation. Rhythmic expression of the metabolic genes Lipe, Pnpla2, and Lpl was clearly evident before pregnancy; however, this rhythmicity was lost with the onset of pregnancy. Tc rhythm was significantly altered by pregnancy, with a 65% decrease in amplitude by term and a 0.61°C decrease in mesor between days 6 and 18. These changes in Tc, however, did not appear to be linked to adipose clock gene expression across pregnancy. Overall, our data show marked adaptations in the adipose clock in pregnancy, with an apparent decoupling of adipose clock and lipolytic/lipogenic gene rhythms from early in gestation.

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