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Fetal and Early-Postnatal Developmental Patterns of Obese-Genotype Piglets Exposed to Prenatal Programming by Maternal Over- and Undernutrition

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The present study evaluated the effect of nutritional imbalances during pregnancy, either by excess or deficiency, on fertility and conceptus development in obese-genotype swine (Iberian pig). Twenty-five multiparous sows were fed, from mating to farrowing, with a standard diet fulfilling either 1.6 folds their daily maintenance requirements for pregnancy (overfed group, n = 12) or only the 50% of such requirements (underfed group, n = 13). Ten out of 12 overfed but only two out of 13 underfed sows became pregnant (P<0.005). Fetal development was determined in the pregnant females at Days 35, 50, 75 and 90 of pregnancy. The embryos from undernourished sows were smaller than the embryos from overfed females as early as at 35 days of pregnancy (P>0.05) and remained smaller until Day 90 of gestation. However, at the end of pregnancy, there were significant changes in the developmental patterns of fetuses. Thus, weight and size of the offspring from both nutritional treatments were finally similar at delivery; the same was found at weaning. There was thereafter a sex-related effect on the growth during the early-postnatal period, with male piglets of both nutritional origins being significantly heavier and more corpulent at weaning that their sisters (P>0.05). In conclusion, fetal growth conditioned by malnutrition from periconceptional stages is mainly regulated at the end of the pregnancy, so that ensure an adequate body-weight and size and, therefore, the survival of the offspring. Afterwards, the early-postnatal development of the offspring is affected by sex, independently from nutritional origin, with male piglets growing faster than females.
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Keywords: Developmental-programming; fertility; gender-effects; leptin-resistance; metabolism; obesity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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  • This journal is devoted to timely reviews of experimental and clinical studies in the field of endocrine, metabolic, and immune disorders. Specific emphasis is placed on humoral and cellular targets for natural, synthetic, and genetically engineered drugs that enhance or impair endocrine, metabolic, and immune parameters and functions. Topics related to the neuroendocrine-immune axis are given special emphasis in view of the growing interest in stress-related, inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative disorders.
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