Effects of maternal nutrition on fetal and neonatal reproductive development and function

Macaulay Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK.
Animal Reproduction Science (Impact Factor: 1.51). 08/2004; 82-83:169-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2004.04.003
Source: PubMed


Maternal undernutrition and, under certain circumstances overnutrition, before or during pregnancy or during early postnatal life can alter reproductive function of the offspring. Effects can be exerted at many stages of development, from prior to conception until after birth and may be expressed at the time of the nutritional insult or later. Since patterns of development differ between species, it is probably more appropriate to consider effects in relation to a stage of development rather than relative to the time of birth. Effects exerted at one stage of development may be expressed later, even if the nutritional influence is no longer present. The signals by which maternal nutrition affects the offspring must be related to maternal nutritional state and must have the capacity to reach the embryo, to be 'read' by it and to modify expression of selected genes. It is suggested that single nutrients and/or metabolites are unlikely to have direct impacts on the pattern of development of the reproductive system and it is postulated that multiple endocrine and metabolic signals are involved. Whilst it has been shown that many components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system are modified by early life nutritional influences, understanding of the mechanisms through which these effects are exerted remains limited.

  • Source
    • "The in utero environment to which a foetus is subjected can have both short-and long-term consequences on growth and reproductive performance of the offspring (Rhind, 2004; Wu et al., 2006; Dupont et al., 2012). 0921-4488/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has previously been shown that both dam size and nutrition in pregnancy can affect individual performance traits of ewe offspring to three years of age. The objective of this study was to determine if dam size and nutrition during pregnancy affected lifetime productivity to six years of age in ewe offspring. In 2005, Romney ewes (G0) were selected as heavy (H; n = 450, mean live weight = 60.8 kg ± 0.18 (s.e)) or light (L; n = 450; mean live weight = 42.5 kg ± 0.17) based upon live weight at the time of mating, and then randomly allocated to receive pregnancy maintenance (M) or ad libitum (A) pasture feeding treatment from day 21 to 140 of pregnancy; resulting in four treatment groups (HA, HM, LA and LM). Live weight, body condition and reproductive performance data were recorded in the ewe offspring (HA n = 55, HM n =58, LA n = 42 and LM n = 43) from 2007 to 2011 (580 to 2298 days of age). In addition live weights of their lambs (grand progeny) to weaning were recorded (n = 1491 in total). Daughter live weights and body condition scores were inconsistently affected by dam size and nutrition over time and at most measurement points no differences (P > 0.05) were found. At 2050d of age A-daughters had higher proportion that ovulated than M-daughters (P = 0.01) and A-daughters gave birth to more lambs than M-daughters (P = 0.05), but there were no differences (P > 0.05) found in relation to number or weight of lambs weaned. Daughters from H dams had a higher total number of antral follicles (P = 0.018) and total number of follicles (P = 0.05) at 2599 days of age, and greater proportion (P = 0.016) of daughters that were present (survived) in the flock in 2011 compared to daughters from L dams. There were no interactions (P > 0.05) between dam size and nutrition for any parameters of lifetime reproductive performance data collected. This study suggests that dam size and nutrition during pregnancy has a minimal impact on daughter lifetime performance. Therefore under the conditions of the present study farmers do not need to consider dam size and pregnancy nutrition when selecting progeny as replacement ewes.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Small Ruminant Research
  • Source
    • "Many studies have shown an association between dietary restriction during periods of pregnancy and lactation, with adverse outcomes in offspring. These studies have demonstrated that a reduction in food intake may be associated with increased offspring mortality, as well as a retardation of growth and physical development (Rhind, 2004; Zhang et al., 2010). In the present study, we observed that pups from dams of the pair-feeding group presented similar development to those pups of the control group. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plants that contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) have been reported as contaminants of pastures and food, as well as being used in herbal medicine. PAs are responsible for poisoning events in livestock and human beings. The aim of this present study was to evaluate effects of prenatal exposure to integerrimine N-oxide, the main PA found in the butanolic residue (BR) of Senecio brasiliensis, on both physical and behavioral parameters of Wistar rat offspring. The toxicity and maternal behavior were also evaluated. For this, pregnant Wistar rats received integerrimine N-oxide from the BR of Senecio brasiliensis, by gavage, on gestational days 6-20 (during organogenesis and fetal development period) at doses of 3, 6 and 9 mg/kg. During treatment, maternal body weight gain, and food and water intake were evaluated. After parturition, maternal behavior and aggressive maternal behavior were analysed. In addition, physical development and behavioral assessments were observed in both male and female pups. Results showed that prenatal exposure to integerrimine N-oxide of S. brasiliensis induced maternal toxicity, impairment in maternal behavior and aggressive maternal behavior, mainly in the highest dose group. Between sexes comparison of pups showed loss of body weight, delayed physical development such as pinna detachment, hair growth, eruption of incisor teeth, eye and vaginal openings. These pups also showed a delay of palmar grasp, surface righting reflex, negative geotaxis and auditory startle reflexes. Thus, prenatal exposure to integerrimine N-oxide induces maternal toxicity, impairment of maternal care and delayed in physical and behavioral development of the offspring.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
  • Source
    • "Maternal dietary composition has been shown to affect the development of the reproductive system in the fetus (Rhind, 2004). Some of these alterations may be mediated via changes in cellular proliferation in fetal ovaries, which may be regulated by numerous fetal and maternal factors related to the maternal diet (Lea et al., 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND Oocyte number is established early in life before a gradual loss of this ovarian reserve during reproductive life until oocyte availability becomes limiting at the menopause. Although there is a large genetic component to the ovarian reserve achieved before birth, other influences including the maternal endocrine and nutritional milieu, and environmental factors may represent important developmental determinants. Environmental and nutritional factors may also modify the downward trajectory of ovarian reserve in adult life. The combination of these early and later life influences has the potential to lead to diminished ovarian reserve, compromising fertility in later reproductive years and altering age at natural menopause.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Human Reproduction Update
Show more