Developmental indices of nutritionally-induced placental growth restriction in the adolescent sheep

Richard G. Lea, Lisa T. Hannah, Dale A. Redmer, Raymond P. Aitken, John Milne, Paul Alfred Francois Fowler, Joanne Murray, Jacqueline M Wallace

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Most intrauterine growth restriction cases are associated with reduced placental growth. Overfeeding adolescent ewes undergoing singleton pregnancies restricts placental growth and reduces lamb birth weight. We used this sheep model of adolescent pregnancy to investigate whether placental growth restriction is associated with altered placental cell proliferation and/or apoptosis at d 81 of pregnancy, equivalent to the apex in placental growth. Adolescent ewes with singleton pregnancies were offered a high or moderate level of a complete diet designed to induce restricted or normal placental size at term, respectively. Bromodeoxyuridine (Brd-U) was administered to H and M ewes 1 h before slaughter. Placental tissues were examined for a) Brd-U (immunohistochemistry) and b) apoptosis regulatory genes by in situ hybridization, Northern analyses (bax, mcl-1), immunohistochemistry, and Western analyses (bax). Quantification was carried out by image analysis. Total placentome weights were equivalent between groups. Brd-U predominantly localized to the trophectoderm and was significantly lower in the H group. Bax and mcl-1 mRNA were localized to the maternal-fetal interface. Bax protein was significantly increased in the H group and predominant in the uninuclear fetal trophectoderm. These observations indicate that reduced placental size at term may be due to reduced placental cell proliferation and possibly increased apoptosis occurring much earlier in gestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-604
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • gonadotropin gene-expression
  • fetal growth
  • progesterone concentrations
  • cell-proliferation
  • apoptotic changes
  • umbilical artery
  • maternal growth
  • flow velocity
  • pregnancy
  • ewes


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