Effect of a high maternal dietary intake during mid-gestation on components of the utero-placental insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in adolescent sheep with retarded placental development

T S Gadd, Raymond Aitken, Jacqueline Wallace, D C Wathes

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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of administering a high plane diet during early to mid-gestation on the uterine and placental insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system and on systemic IGF-I concentrations in pregnant adolescent ewes with restricted placental growth. Embryos recovered from superovulated ewes inseminated by a single sire were transferred in singleton to the uterus of adolescent recipients. After transfer ewes were offered a high (H) or moderate (M) amount of a complete diet calculated to promote rapid or normal maternal growth rates, respectively. Five ewes from each group were switched from either M to I-I or H to M diets at day 52 of gestation. Maternal and fetal blood samples and placental tissues were collected from all animals at day 104. Ewes on the high plane diet from mid-gestation (HH, MH groups) had restricted placental mass (P < 0.01) and tended to have smaller fetuses. This was associated. with increased maternal plasma IGF-I concentrations (P < 0.001). The pattern of expression of components of the IGF system in the uterus and placenta was studied by in situ hybridization. IGF-I mRNA concentrations were below the limit of detection. IGF-II mRNA expression was high in the fetal mesoderm and present in maternal stroma, but was not influenced by nutritional treatment. In contrast, IGF binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) mRNA expression was higher (P < 0.05) and IGFBP-3 mRNA expression was lower (P < 0.05) in the endometrial glands of ewes in HH and MH groups. In the fetal trophoblast, IGFBP-3 mRNA expression was higher in the MH group. Type 1 IGF receptor expression was increased (P < 0.01) in the luminal epithelium of the HM group and IGFBP-2 mRNA expression was highest in the placentome capsule of ewes in the HH group. Together, these results indicate that reprogramming of the uterine and placental IGF axis by maternal nutrition could contribute to placental growth retardation in growing adolescent sheep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


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