Protein or energy restriction during late gestation alters fetal growth and visceral organ mass: An evidence of intrauterine programming in goats.

He, Z.X., Wu, D.Q., Sun, Z.H., Tan, Z.L., Qiao, J.Y., Ran, T., Tang, S.X., Zhou, C.S., Han, X.F., Wang, M., Kang, J.H., and Beauchemin, K.A. (2013). "Protein or energy restriction during late gestation alters fetal growth and visceral organ mass: An evidence of intrauterine programming in goats.", Animal Reproduction Science, 137(3-4), pp. 177-182. doi : 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2013.01.005  Access to full text

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of maternal protein or energy restriction during late gestation on postnatal fetal growth and visceral organ mass of goats. Eighty pregnant goats with similar age (2.0 ± 0.3 yr) and body weight (BW, 20.0 ± 1.0 kg before pregnancy) were assigned to 3 dietary treatments during late gestation: control (CON), 40% protein restricted (PR) and 40% energy restricted (ER) diets until parturition, after which offspring received normal diets for nutritional recovery. Kids were killed and visceral tissues were harvested at birth and week 6. Maternal protein or energy restriction decreased (P < 0.05) birth weight, and the weights of thymus, heart, abomasums, small intestine. The length of fetus from PR and ER were all decreased (P < 0.05) compared with that from control. When expressed relative to BW, thymus and small intestine for PR and ER still remained less (P < 0.05) than that for control. After 6 weeks of nutritional recovery, there was no difference (P = 0.91) in BW among groups; the kids from nutritional restriction groups showed a greater (P < 0.05) growth rate compared with kids from CON. Moreover, liver (only in ER, P < 0.10) and kidney (only in ER, P < 0.05) were proportionally increased to BW at week 6. The results indicate that maternal protein or energy restriction programs the fetal growth in goats, particularly the proportional responses of fetal organs relative to BW, including thymus, small intestine, kidney and liver.

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