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Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Supplementation with vitamin D3 during pregnancy protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced neural tube defects through improving placental folate transportation.


PMID 25673501

Abstract

Several reports demonstrated that maternal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure at middle gestational stage caused neural tube defects (NTDs). This study investigated the effects of supplementation with vitamin D3 (VitD3) during pregnancy on LPS-induced NTDs. Pregnant mice except controls were ip injected with LPS (25 μg/kg) daily from gestational day (GD)8 to GD12. In LPS+VitD3 group, pregnant mice were orally administered with VitD3 (25 μg/kg) before LPS injection. As expected, a 5-day LPS injection resulted in 62.5% (10/16) of dams and 20.3% of fetuses with NTDs. Additional experiment showed that a 5-day LPS injection downregulated placental proton-coupled folate transporter (pcft) and reduced folate carrier 1 (rfc1), 2 major folate transporters in placentas. Consistent with downregulation of placental folate transporters, folate transport from maternal circulation into embryos was disturbed in LPS-treated mice. Interestingly, VitD3 not only inhibited placental inflammation but also attenuated LPS-induced downregulation of placental folate transporters. Correspondingly, VitD3 markedly improved folate transport from maternal circulation into the embryos. Importantly, supplementation with VitD3 during pregnancy protected mice from LPS-induced NTDs. Taken together, these results suggest that supplementation with VitD3 during pregnancy prevents LPS-induced NTDs through inhibiting placental inflammation and improving folate transport from maternal circulation into the embryos.