As placental growth and vascularity precedes exponential fetal growth, not only is proper establishment of the placenta important, but also a continual plasticity of placental function throughout gestation. Inadequate maternal environment, such as nutritional plane, has been documented to alter fetal organogenesis and growth, thus leading to improper postnatal growth and performance in many livestock species. The timing and duration of maternal nutritional restriction appears to influence the capillary vascularity, angiogenic profile and vascular function of the placenta in cattle and sheep. In environments where fetal growth and/or fetal organogenesis are compromised, potential therapeutics may augment placental nutrient transport capacity and improve offspring performance. Supplementation of specific nutrients, including protein, as well as hormone supplements, such as indolamines, during times of nutrient restriction may assist placental function. Current use of Doppler ultrasonography has allowed for repeated measurements of uterine and umbilical blood flow including assessment of uteroplacental hemodynamics in cattle, sheep and swine. Moreover, these variables can be monitored in conjugation with placental capacity and fetal growth at specific time points of gestation. Elucidating the consequences of inadequate maternal intake on the continual plasticity of placental function will allow us to determine the proper timing and duration for intervention.
"In addition, singleton fetuses from ewes consuming a high-protein diet during late gestation were heavier on day 130 of gestation compared with fetuses from ewes consuming a low-protein diet, with no differences in placental weight (reviewed in Vonnahme and Lemley, 2012). Although protein restriction late (last 50 d) in fetal development did not decrease fetal growth, postnatal growth and pregnancy rates were increased in female progeny (Vonnahme and Lemley, 2012) and slaughter weights and fat deposition in male progeny after 15 months of age were increased. However, protein over-nutrition may have a negative effect on progeny performance, as Sletmoen-Olsen et al. (2000) indicated that high levels of metabolizable protein supplementation to mature beef cows reduced birth weights relative to controls fed at their protein requirement. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Take Home Messages Maternal under-and over-nutrition can restrict nutrient supply to the fetus Altered maternal nutrition during the first trimester primarily impacts animal metabolism with long-term implications for progeny energy balance and body composition Altered maternal nutrition during the last trimester primarily impacts the extent of fetal growth, affecting birth weights and having potential implications for long-term growth and body composition Early post-natal nutrition impacts progeny development and can ameliorate or exacerbate fetal programming What is Developmental Programming? In livestock, just as in humans, there is increasing evidence that production characteristics in livestock may be affected by maternal diet (Wu et al., 2006). This so-called metabolic or developmental "programming" of postnatal growth occurs during certain windows of growth characterized by plasticity of metabolic regulatory systems, namely in utero or shortly after birth. Compromised fetal or neonatal growth in livestock has been shown to lead to increased neonatal morbidity and mortality, slow postnatal growth, increased fat deposition, insulin resistance, and dysfunction of specific organs, including the ovaries, testes, mammary gland, liver, and small intestine (Wu et al., 2006). Thus, it is likely that the cow of today, with high milk yield but also reproductive and metabolic challenges, is not only a consequence of genetic selection, but also the result of the way her dam was fed and the way she was fed early after birth. The concept that postnatal growth and production is sensitive to direct and indirect effects of maternal nutrition was first proposed by Dr. Barker based on epidemiological studies investigating low nutrient intake by pregnant mothers
Western Canadian Dairy Seminar Advances in Dairy Technology; 03/2014
"In fact, several measurements of vascularization/angiogenesis were decreased after transfer of embryos of different origin. Interestingly, altered blood flow, vascular development and/or expression of selected angiogenic and/or other growth factors have been demonstrated in the placenta of mid to late pregnancies compromised by factors causing fetal growth restrictions in several species (Reynolds et al. 2006, 2013, Vonnahme & Lemley 2011, Gourvas et al. 2012). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Utero-placental growth and vascular development are critical for pregnancy establishment that may be altered by various factors including assisted reproductive technologies (ART), nutrition, or others, leading to compromised pregnancy. We hypothesized that placental vascularization and expression of angiogenic factors are altered early in pregnancies after transfer of embryos created using selected ART methods. Pregnancies were achieved through natural mating (NAT), or transfer of embryos from natural mating (NAT-ET), or in vitro fertilization (IVF) or activation (IVA). Placental tissues were collected on day 22 of pregnancy. In maternal caruncles (CAR), vascular cell proliferation was less (P<0.05) for IVA than other groups. Compared to NAT, density of blood vessels was less (P<0.05) for IVF and IVA in fetal membranes (FM), and for NAT-ET, IVF and IVA in CAR. In FM, mRNA expression was decreased (P<0.01-0.08) in NAT-ET, IVF and IVA compared to NAT for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor FLT-1, placental growth factor (PGF), neuropilin (NP) 1 and 2, angiopoietin (ANGPT) 1 and 2, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS3), hypoxia inducible factor-1A (HIF1A), fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 2 and its receptor FGFR2. In CAR, mRNA expression was decreased (P<0.01-0.05) in NAT-ET, IVF and IVA compared to NAT for VEGF, FLT-1, PGF, ANGPT1 and TEK. Decreased mRNA expression for 12 of 14 angiogenic factors across FM and CAR in NAT-ET, IVF and IVA pregnancies was associated with reduced placental vascular development, which would lead to poor placental function and compromised fetal and placental growth and development.
"Environmental factors including maternal diet during pregnancy can affect the development and function of the reproductive system during prenatal and postnatal development of offspring, and may have long-term consequences for offspring outcome until adulthood          . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of maternal diet with adequate (A) or high (H) selenium (Se) supplementation on ovarian and uterine characteristics, and onset of puberty in adolescent offspring. Sheep were fed a maintenance (M) diet with ASe or HSe levels from breeding to parturition. From Day 50 to parturition, a portion of the ewes from ASe and HSe groups was fed restricted (R, 60% of M) or excess (E, 140% of M) diet. Immediately after birth, lambs were separated from their dams and given artificial colostrum for 20 hours, followed by milk replacer. From Day 57.3 ± 0.6, ewe lambs were fed a pelleted grower diet until Day 116.3 ± 0.6 when they were transitioned to a finisher diet. From Day 99 to 180, serum samples were collected weekly from jugular vein for progesterone analysis to determine onset of puberty. Reproductive tissues were collected on Day 180.1 ± 0.4 of age. Maternal diet or Se supplementation did not affect uterine or ovarian weight and onset of puberty. However, area under the curve for progesterone was greater (P = 0.05) in ASe compared with HSe groups, and was greater in ASeM than HSeM group. In CLs, labeling index (LI; a proportion of proliferating cells) was less (P < 0.04) in HSeM than ASeM group, and in stroma was less (P < 0.05) in R and E groups than M group. Maternal diet did not affect the LI of any follicle types. For all groups combined, LI was the greatest (P < 0.001) in antral, less in early antral and secondary, and the least in atretic follicles. Our results demonstrate that maternal diet influenced ovarian but not uterine characteristics or onset of puberty. These results indicate that maternal plane of nutrition and/or Se supplementation may have specific effects on reproductive function in offspring.
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