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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2009;22(12): 1633-1639.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2009.90131    Published online October 21, 2009.
Effect of Maternal Undernutrition during Late Pregnancy on Growth and Development of Ovine Fetal Visceral Organs
F. Gao, Y. C. Liu, X. Z. Hou
This study investigated the effect of maternal undernutrition during late pregnancy on the growth and development of ovine fetal visceral organs. One hundred Mongolian ewes were mated at a synchronized oestrus and divided into three groups and offered 0.175 MJ ME kgw-0.75 d-1 (Restricted Group1; RG1), 0.33 MJ ME kgw-0.75 d-1 (Restricted Group2; RG2) and ad libitum access to feed (Control Group; CG) during late pregnancy (90 days). Selected animals in each group were slaughtered immediately at d 90 of pregnancy and after parturition (neonatal lambs), and major visceral organs were removed and weighed separately. The results indicated that the weights of lung (p<0.01), spleen (p<0.01), heart (p<0.05), liver (p<0.05) and abomasum (p<0.01) in RG1 were significantly lighter than those of CG. For RG2, only the weights of the lung (p<0.05) and spleen (p<0.01) were significantly lighter than those of CG; when expressed as a percentage of body weight, significance was retained in the spleen (p<0.01) for both restricted groups, but the percentage of brain in RG1 was significantly higher than that in CG (p<0.01). For lung and spleen, the amount of DNA was significantly lower (p<0.01) in both groups of restricted neonatal lambs compared to CG; however, there was a significant difference only between RG1 and CG for protein: DNA ratio (p<0.01). The DNA content of kidney, abomasum and jejunum were decreased (p<0.05) in RG1 neonatal lambs,but protein: DNA ratio in the liver was decreased compared with that of CG (p<0.05). The plane of maternal undernutrition during late pregnancy had a significant effect on the growth and development of fetal visceral organs, which altered ontogeny of fetal organ growth and development. These perturbations in fetal visceral development may have significant implications on postnatal growth and adult health.
Keywords: Ewe; Undernutrition; Fetal Visceral Organs; Growth and Development

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