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REVIEW  IMMUNONUTRITION IN PEDIATRICS 

Minerva Pediatrics 2021 April;73(2):98-110

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-5276.20.06166-6

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Nutri-epigenetics: the effect of maternal diet and early nutrition on the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases

Dhinoth K. BANGARUSAMY, Arun P. LAKSHMANAN, Sara AL-ZAIDAN, Shaikha ALABDULJABBAR, Annalisa TERRANEGRA

Unit of Maternal and Child Health, Department of Research, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar



Autoimmune diseases comprise a wide group of diseases involving a self-response of the immune system against the host. The etiopathogenesis is very complex involving disease-specific factors but also environmental factors, among which the diet. Maternal diet during pregnancy as well as early nutrition recently attracted the interest of the scientists as contributing to the immune programming. In this paper, we reviewed the most recent literature on the effect of maternal diet and early nutrition in modulating the immune system in a selected subset of autoimmune diseases: type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Particularly, we focused our narrative on the role of maternal and perinatal nutrition in the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the auto-immune response. Maternal diet during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding and early nutrition play a big role in many epigenetic mechanisms. Most of the nutrients consumed by the mother and the infant are known exerting epigenetic functions, such as folate, methionine, zinc, vitamins B12 and D, fibers, casein and gliadin, and they were linked to gene expression changes in the immune pathways. Despite the common role of maternal diet, breastfeeding and early nutrition in almost all the autoimmune diseases, each disease seems to have specific diet-driver epigenetic mechanisms that require further investigations. The research in this field is opening new routes to establishing a precision nutrition approach to the auto-immune diseases.


KEY WORDS: Epigenomics; Autoimmune diseases; Diet, food and nutrition; Pregnancy

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