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In The Pune Maternal Nutrition Study, vitamin B12 deficiency was seen in 65% of pregnant women, folate deficiency was rare. Maternal total homocysteine concentrations were inversely associated with offspring birthweight, and low vitamin B12 and high folate concentrations predicted higher offspring adiposity and insulin resistance. These findings guided a nested pre-conceptional randomised controlled trial ‘Pune Rural Intervention in Young Adolescents’. The interventions included: (1) vitamin B12+multi-micronutrients as per the United Nations International Multiple Micronutrient Antenatal Preparation, and proteins (B12+MMN), (2) vitamin B12 (B12 alone), and (3) placebo. Intervention improved maternal pre-conceptional and in-pregnancy micronutrient nutrition. Gene expression analysis in cord blood mononuclear cells in 88 pregnancies revealed 75 differentially expressed genes between the B12+MMN and placebo groups. The enriched biological processes included G2/M phase transition, chromosome segregation, and nuclear division. Enriched pathways included, mitotic spindle checkpoint and DNA damage response while enriched human phenotypes were sloping forehead and decreased head circumference. Fructose-bisphosphatase 2 (FBP2) and Cell Division Cycle Associated 2 (CDCA2) genes were under-expressed in the B12 alone group. The latter, involved in chromosome segregation was under-expressed in both intervention groups. Based on the role of B-complex vitamins in the synthesis of nucleotides and S-adenosyl methionine, and the roles of vitamins A and D on gene expression, we propose that the multi-micronutrient intervention epigenetically affected cell cycle dynamics. Neonates in the B12+MMN group had the highest ponderal index. Follow-up studies will reveal if the intervention and the altered biological processes influence offspring diabesity.
With type 2 diabetes presenting at younger ages, there is a growing need to identify biomarkers of future glucose intolerance. A high (20%) prevalence of glucose intolerance at 18 years was seen in women from the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study (PMNS) birth cohort. We investigated the potential of circulating microRNAs in risk stratification for future pre-diabetes in these women. Here, we provide preliminary longitudinal analyses of circulating microRNAs in normal glucose tolerant (NGT@18y, N = 10) and glucose intolerant (N = 8) women (ADA criteria) at 6, 12 and 17 years of their age using discovery analysis (OpenArray™ platform). Machine-learning workflows involving Lasso with bootstrapping/leave-one-out cross-validation identified microRNAs associated with glucose intolerance at 18 years of age. Several microRNAs, including miR-212-3p, miR-30e-3p and miR-638, stratified glucose-intolerant women from NGT at childhood. Our results suggest that circulating microRNAs, longitudinally assessed over 17 years of life, are dynamic biomarkers associated with and predictive of pre-diabetes at 18 years of age. Validation of these findings in males and remaining participants from the PMNS birth cohort will provide a unique opportunity to study novel epigenetic mechanisms in the life-course progression of glucose intolerance and enhance current clinical risk prediction of pre-diabetes and progression to type 2 diabetes.
To explore the perceptions of adolescents and their caregivers on drivers of diet and physical activity in rural India in the context of ongoing economic, social and nutrition transition.
A qualitative study comprising eight focus group discussions (FGD) on factors affecting eating and physical activity patterns, perceptions of health and decision-making on food preparation.
Villages approximately 40–60 km from the city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra, India.
Two FGD with adolescents aged 10–12 years (n 20), two with 15- to 17- year-olds (n 18) and four with their mothers (n 38).
Dietary behaviour and physical activity of adolescents were perceived to be influenced by individual and interpersonal factors including adolescent autonomy, parental influence and negotiations between adolescents and caregivers. The home food environment, street food availability, household food security and exposure to television and digital media were described as influencing behaviour. The lack of facilities and infrastructure was regarded as barriers to physical activity as were insufficient resources for public transport, safe routes for walking and need for cycles, particularly for girls. It was suggested that schools take a lead role in providing healthy foods and that governments invest in facilities for physical activity.
In this transitioning environment, that is representative of many parts of India and other Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC), people perceive a need for interventions to improve adolescent diet and physical activity. Caregivers clearly felt that they had a stake in adolescent health, and so we would recommend the involvement of both adolescents and caregivers in intervention design.
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