• Effects of Maternal Folic Acid Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle Function and Metabolism in Male and Female CD-1 Mouse Offspring

      Saint, Caitlin; Applied Health Sciences Program
      In 1998, folic acid (FA) fortification of all white flour, enriched pasta and cornmeal products became mandatory in Canada to reduce the risk of neural tube defects at birth. Furthermore, Health Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends all women take daily prenatal FA supplements in addition to FA- fortified foods during pregnancy, resulting in pregnant women being exposed to approximately 4 times higher FA during pregnancy than the current recommended guidelines. However, the influence of maternal FA supplementation on offspring development, specifically muscle, is currently unknown. Skeletal muscle is one of the most abundant tissues in the human body and is essential for locomotion and energy metabolism. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of supplemental FA (4 times higher than normal dietary consumption), in utero and throughout suckling on muscle function and metabolism in male and female CD-1 mouse offspring. The major findings were ~25% faster contractions in EDL, characterized by a more rapid relaxation rate, and ~15% slower contractions, characterized by a reduced force development rate, in SOL among females in FA group, with no differences in contractile function seen between groups in males. Additionally, carbohydrate metabolism markers in the FA group decreased in SOL among females, whereas, carbohydrate and oxidative metabolism markers increased in EDL and SOL, respectively, among males. These findings suggest that exposure to folic acid supplementation in utero and throughout suckling programs skeletal muscle function and metabolism in a sex-specific manner.