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: 2.4). 12/2011; 24(1):97-104. DOI: 10.1071/RD11910
Source: PubMed


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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    • "The uterine environment during late gestation is vital for assuring a continual delivery of sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the exponentially growing fetus. Based on average lactation numbers in the United States, a Holstein cow spends approximately 14% of its life within the uterus, whereby the placenta is their sole source of nourishment during a vital period of fetal developmental plasticity [1] [2]. Therefore, it is vital to understand all factors involved in this critical developmental time point in the animals' life. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to examine uterine artery hemodynamics and maternal serum profiles in pregnant heifers supplemented with dietary melatonin (MEL) or no supplementation (CON). In addition, melatonin receptor-mediated responses in steroid metabolism were examined using a bovine endometrial epithelial culture system. Twenty singleton pregnant Holstein heifers were supplemented with 20 mg of melatonin (n = 10) or no melatonin supplementation (control; n = 10) from days 190 to 262 of gestation. Maternal measurements were recorded on days 180 (baseline), 210, 240, and 262 of gestation. Total uterine blood flow was increased by 25% in the MEL-treated heifers compared with the CON. Concentrations of progesterone were decreased in MEL vs CON heifers. Total serum antioxidant capacity was increased by 43% in MEL-treated heifers when compared with CON. Activity of cytochrome P450 1A, 2C, and superoxide dismutase was increased in bovine endometrial epithelial cells treated with melatonin, whereas the melatonin receptor antagonist, luzindole, negated the increase in cytochrome P450 2C activity. Moreover, estradiol or progesterone treatment altered bovine uterine melatonin receptor expression, which could potentiate the melatonin-mediated responses during late gestation. The observed increase in total uterine blood flow during melatonin supplementation could be related to its antioxidant properties. Compromised pregnancies are typically accompanied by increased oxidative stress; therefore, melatonin could serve as a therapeutic supplementation strategy. This could lead to further fetal programming implications in conjunction with offspring growth and development postnatally.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2016 · Domestic Animal Endocrinology
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    • "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. "
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    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
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Mar 2014
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    • "placenta (Vonnahme and Lemley, 2012). Blood flow is an important indicator of cardiac health and nutrient availability to particular tissues. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to determine whether maternal nutritional status and milk production during early gestation influenced or were correlated with parameters of the calf at birth and at 1 month of age. From parturition until 90 days pregnant, blood samples were collected every 14 days in dairy cows and plasma was assayed for concentrations of glucose and β-Hydroxybutyrate (BHBA). Calves (n = 39) born from these cows were measured for blood pressure and size characteristics as well as carotid artery hemodynamics measured via Doppler ultrasonography Pulsatility Index (PI) and Resistance Index (RI). Several values were then calculated to assess the cardiovascular health of the calf. The GLM and CORR procedures of SAS were used to analyze data and significance was determined when p≤0.05 and tendencies were discussed when p>0.05 and ≤0.10. In calves at birth, mean milk production of dams during early gestation was positively correlated with heart girth. Length of gestation was positively correlated with heart girth of calves at birth and at 1 month of age. Mean concentration of glucose in dams was positively correlated with wither height in calves at 1 month of age. Length of gestation was negatively correlated with RI in calves at 1 month of age. Milk production in the dam was positively correlated with hip and wither height and PI but negatively correlated with mean arterial pressure in 1 month old calves. At birth, twins weighed less than singletons and females had an increased heart rate compared to males. At 1 month of age, size parameters and mean blood flow differed between singletons and twins. Males had lesser blood velocity but greater area of the carotid artery compared to females. These data lead to speculation that early gestational environment may impact growth and hemodynamic parameters in calves.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014
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