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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effects of maternal nutrition and body condition on placental and foetal growth in the ewe.

This study investigated the effects of maternal body condition and nutrition on placental and foetal growth in mid-gestation. Welsh Mountain ewes (n=24) of body condition 3.5 (high, H) and 2.0 (low, L) at mating, were fed either 100 per cent or 70 per cent of their daily maintenance requirements from day 22 of gestation, yielding four groups: H100 (n=5), H70 (n=6), L100 (n=7) and L70 (n=6). On day 65, placental and foetal parameters were measured. Whilst the placentome number tended to be lower in L than H ewes, the mean placentome weight was significantly greater in L100 than H100 animals. Nutritionally related changes in IGFBP expression within the placentome and intercotyledonary endometrium may explain these findings, with IGFBP-3 expression in the luminal epithelium and caruncular stroma of the placentome villi being inversely correlated to placentome number and the total placentome weight respectively. The foetal CRL was shorter and the ponderal index greater in L than H ewes. The foetal CRL was positively correlated to maternal IGF-I concentrations and the placentome number, although the foetal weight remained unaltered by treatment. This study therefore demonstrates that body condition and ration can alter foetal and placental growth, perhaps by modifying systemic parameters and uterine IGF expression.[1]


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