Impact of placental mTOR deficiency on peripheral insulin signaling in adult mice offspring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suboptimal in utero environments such as poor maternal nutrition and gestational diabetes can impact fetal birth weight and the metabolic health trajectory of the adult offspring. Fetal growth is associated with alterations in placental mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling; it is reduced in fetal growth restriction and increased in fetal overgrowth. We previously reported that when metabolically challenged by a high-fat diet, placental mTORKO (mTORKOpl) adult female offspring develop obesity and insulin resistance, whereas placental TSC2KO (TSC2KOpl) female offspring are protected from diet-induced obesity and maintain proper glucose homeostasis. In the present study, we sought to investigate whether reducing or increasing placental mTOR signaling in utero alters the programming of adult offspring metabolic tissues preceding a metabolic challenge. Adult male and female mTORKOpl, TSC2KOpl, and respective controls on a normal chow diet were subjected to an acute intraperitoneal insulin injection. Upon insulin stimulation, insulin signaling via phosphorylation of Akt and nutrient sensing via phosphorylation of mTOR target ribosomal S6 were evaluated in the offspring liver, white adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle. Among tested tissues, we observed significant changes only in the liver signaling. In the male mTORKOpl adult offspring liver, insulin-stimulated phospho-Akt was enhanced compared to littermate controls. Basal phospho-S6 level was increased in the mTORKOpl female offspring liver compared to littermate controls and did not increase further in response to insulin. RNA sequencing of offspring liver identified placental mTORC1 programming-mediated differentially expressed genes. The expression of major urinary protein 1 (Mup1) was differentially altered in female mTORKOpl and TSC2KOpl offspring livers and we show that MUP1 level is dependent on overnutrition and fasting status. In summary, deletion of placental mTOR nutrient sensing in utero programs hepatic response to insulin action in a sexually dimorphic manner. Additionally, we highlight a possible role for hepatic and circulating MUP1 in glucose homeostasis that warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of molecular endocrinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


  • MUP1
  • diabetes
  • fetal programming
  • insulin sensitivity
  • mTOR
  • placenta

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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