The maternal environment not only affects in utero development, but also can dramatically influence postnatal phenotypes. In this episode, Vijay Yadav, Isabel Quiros-Gonzalez, and Liesbet Lieben discuss their use of a murine genetic model to evaluate the effects of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency on offspring bone formation. Pups from B12-deficient mothers exhibited growth retardation and reduced bone mass due to a loss of taurine synthesis in the liver. Furthermore, administration of taurine to these offspring enhanced bone formation, ameliorating growth defects. The results from this study suggest that B12/taurine supplementation may be a potential therapeutic strategy to increase bone mass.
Both maternal and offspring-derived factors contribute to lifelong growth and bone mass accrual, although the specific role of maternal deficiencies in the growth and bone mass of offspring is poorly understood. In the present study, we have shown that vitamin B12 (B12) deficiency in a murine genetic model results in severe postweaning growth retardation and osteoporosis, and the severity and time of onset of this phenotype in the offspring depends on the maternal genotype. Using integrated physiological and metabolomic analysis, we determined that B12 deficiency in the offspring decreases liver taurine production and associates with abrogation of a growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor 1 (GH/IGF1) axis. Taurine increased GH-dependent IGF1 synthesis in the liver, which subsequently enhanced osteoblast function, and in B12-deficient offspring, oral administration of taurine rescued their growth retardation and osteoporosis phenotypes. These results identify B12 as an essential vitamin that positively regulates postweaning growth and bone formation through taurine synthesis and suggests potential therapies to increase bone mass.
Pablo Roman-Garcia, Isabel Quiros-Gonzalez, Lynda Mottram, Liesbet Lieben, Kunal Sharan, Arporn Wangwiwatsin, Jose Tubio, Kirsty Lewis, Debbie Wilkinson, Balaji Santhanam, Nazan Sarper, Simon Clare, George S. Vassiliou, Vidya R. Velagapudi, Gordon Dougan, Vijay K. Yadav