Programming the offspring through altered uteroplacental hemodynamics: how maternal environment impacts uterine and umbilical blood flow in cattle, sheep and pigs.

Center for Nutrition and Pregnancy, Department of Animal Sciences, North Dakota State University, PO Box 6050, NDSU Department 7630 Fargo, ND 58108-6050, USA.
Reproduction Fertility and Development (Impact Factor: 2.58). 12/2011; 24(1):97-104. DOI: 10.1071/RD11910
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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