Uterine crowding in the sow affects litter sex ratio, placental development and embryonic myogenin expression in early gestation.
ABSTRACT Uterine crowding in the pig results in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and permanently affects fetal muscle fibre development, representing production losses for the commercial pig herd. The present study sought to understand how different levels of uterine crowding in sows affects muscle fibre development in the early embryo at the time of muscle fibre differentiation and proliferation. Sows either underwent surgical, unilateral oviduct ligation (LIG; n = 10) to reduce the number of embryos in the uterus, or remained as intact, relatively-crowded controls (CTR; n = 10). Embryos and placentae were collected at Day 30 of gestation, and myogenic regulatory factor (MRF) transcript abundance was determined using real-time PCR for both myogenin (MYOG) and myoblast differentiation 1 (MYOD1). Unilateral tubal ligation resulted in lower numbers of embryos in utero, higher placental weights and a higher male : female sex ratio (P < 0.05). Relative MYOD1 expression was not different, but MYOG expression was higher (P < 0.05) in the LIG group embryos; predominantly due to effects on the male embryos. Relatively modest uterine crowding therefore affects MRF expression, even at very early stages of embryonic development, and could contribute to reported differences in fetal muscle fibre development, birthweight and thus post-natal growth performance in swine.
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ABSTRACT: Unmodified, third parity, control sows (CTR; n = 30) or sows subjected to unilateral oviduct ligation before breeding (LIG; n = 30), were slaughtered at either day 30 or day 90 of gestation and used to determine the effects of numbers of conceptuses in utero on prenatal, and particularly muscle fibre, development. Ovulation rate, number of conceptuses in utero, placental and fetal size, and (day 90 sows) fetal organ and semitendinosus muscle development were recorded. Tubal ligation reduced (P < 0.05) the number of viable embryos at day 30 and fetuses at day 90. Placental weight at day 30 and day 90, and fetal weight at day 90, were lower (P < 0.05) in CTR sows. All body organs except the brain were lighter, and the brain:liver weight ratio was higher in CTR fetuses (P < 0.05), indicative of brain sparing and intrauterine growth restriction in fetuses from CTR sows. Muscle weight, muscle cross-sectional area and the total number of secondary fibres were also lower (P < 0.05) in CTR fetuses. The number of primary fibres, the secondary:primary muscle fibre ratio, and the distribution of myosin heavy chain-Ibeta, -IIa, fetal and embryonic isoforms did not differ between groups. Thus, even the relatively modest uterine crowding occurring naturally in CTR sows negatively affected placental and fetal development and the number of secondary muscle fibres. Consequences of more extreme crowding in utero on fetal and postnatal development, resulting from changing patterns of early embryonic survival, merit further investigation.Reproduction (Cambridge, England) 10/2004; 128(4):443-54. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The effect of varying short-term maternal feed intake during the peri-conception period on the development of ovine fetal muscle at mid-gestation was investigated. Superovulated donor Merino ewes (n = 24) were fed a roughage/grain pelleted diet (10.1 MJME/kg dry matter) at either 1.5x maintenance (H; high) or 0.5x maintenance (L; low) from 18 days before until 6 days after ovulation. Embryos were transferred to recipient ewes (n = 60) on day 6. Singleton fetuses were collected on day 75 of gestation and placental weights, fetal body dimensions and fetal organ and muscle weights recorded. The number, type and size of muscle fibres and the dry matter, RNA, DNA and protein content in the semitendinosus muscle were determined. Maternal feed intake did not influence body dimensions, organ development or muscle weights in the fetus. However, L feed intake decreased total muscle fibre number in the fetus by approximately 20% (P = 0.06) compared to H feed intake. This resulted from a reduced secondary to primary fibre ratio (P < 0.05) and indicated that secondary fibre formation occurred at a reduced rate in L fetuses. In addition, protein:DNA ratio tended to be lower in muscles of L fetuses (P < 0.1). It is concluded that restricting feed intake over the peri-conception period reduces or delays myogenesis in fetal sheep. The potential mechanisms by which nutritional availability during this period may influence subsequent myogenic development are discussed.Animal Reproduction Science 07/2005; 87(3-4):241-51. · 1.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The administration of porcine somatotropin (pST) to pregnant sows during early gestation (day 10 to 24) induced the formation of significantly more muscle fibres in the semitendinosus muscle of the fetuses, representing a higher growth capacity of skeletal muscle. The pST-treatment during late pregnancy (day 80 to 94) accelerated the development of the fetus resulting in higher body weights and advanced stage of maturity at birth.Bioscience Reports 09/1993; 13(4):213-20. · 1.88 Impact Factor