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Effect of maternal body condition on placental and fetal growth and the insulin-like growth factor axis in Dorset ewes

Effect of maternal body condition on placental and fetal growth and the insulin-like growth factor axis in Dorset ewes

Reproduction 125(5): 717-731

ISSN/ISBN: 1470-1626

PMID: 12713435

DOI: 10.1530/rep.0.1250717

This study investigated the effects of maternal body condition on fetal growth. Fetal and placental parameters from Dorset ewes of body condition score 2.0 (lean, n=5), 3.5 (moderate, n=7) and 5.0 (fat, n=4) at mating were studied on day 65 of gestation. The fetal weight and fetal weight:crown-rump length ratio were greater in fat ewes than in ewes of moderate condition. The raised total and mean placentome weight in fat ewes compared with ewes of moderate condition may have contributed to their increased fetal growth. However, the fetal crown-rump length was not affected. With in situ hybridization, insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) mRNA and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), -3 and -6 were all detected in the placentome capsule; IGF-II mRNA was also found in the mesoderm of the fetal villi and IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-6 were present in the caruncular stroma of the maternal villi. Ewes of moderate condition, which had the smallest placentae, had the greatest placental expression of IGF-II, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3. In the intercotyledonary endometrium, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-5 and uterine milk protein (UTMP) mRNA were all expressed in the glandular epithelium. IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-5 absorbance values were lowest in the lean ewes, whereas UTMP values were highest. Maternal insulin concentrations were greater in fat ewes, whereas plasma glucose and IGF-I concentrations in the fetal compartment were lowest in fat ewes. Therefore, in obese ewes, fetal and placental growth is increased in mid-gestation in association with higher maternal insulin concentrations and lower expression of IGFBPs in the maternal placentomes. Placental and fetal development in lean ewes may be promoted by reduced IGFBP expression in the placentomes and enhanced UTMP production by the endometrial glands. The ewes of moderate condition had the smallest fetuses and placentae coupled with the highest placental expression of IGF-II and IGFBPs. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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Accession: 003730922

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