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Maternal undernutrition alters triiodothyronine concentrations and pituitary response to GnRH in fetal sheep

Rae, M.T., Rhind, S.M., Kyle, C.E., Miller, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-4634-5819 and Brooks, A.N. (2002) Maternal undernutrition alters triiodothyronine concentrations and pituitary response to GnRH in fetal sheep. Journal of Endocrinology, 173 (3). pp. 449-455.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1677/joe.0.1730449
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Abstract

The aims of this study were to determine which hormones may have a role in the expression of maternal undernutrition effects on reproductive function, in both the developing fetus and the adult offspring. This was undertaken by measuring the effects of long-term maternal undernutrition on metabolic hormone profiles and pituitary responses to single doses of GnRH and GH-releasing factor (GRF) in fetal sheep. From mating, groups of ewes were fed rations providing either 100% (HIGH) or 50% (LOW) of estimated metabolisable energy requirements for pregnancy throughout the experiment until slaughter at approximately 119 days of gestation. Fetal and maternal blood samples were collected from 113 until 119 days of gestation, via carotid and jugular catheters respectively, and assayed for insulin, IGF-I, GH, thyroxine and triiodothyronine (T(3)). Undernutrition had no effects on fetal weight, fetal gonad weight of either sex, fetal insulin or IGF-I concentrations. Male LOW fetuses exhibited a significantly attenuated response (P<0.05) to a bolus challenge of GnRH compared with HIGH fetuses. Basal fetal GH concentrations and the response to exogenous GRF were similar in both treatment groups, although LOW fetuses exhibited more secretory episodes (P<0.01). Mean T(3) concentrations were significantly lower in both the maternal (P<0.01) and fetal (P<0.05) plasma of LOW animals compared with HIGH animals. It is concluded that pituitary function was altered in fetal males and could influence male reproductive development. On the other hand, in female sheep, fetal gonadal abnormalities and reductions in reproductive capacity in adult life which are associated with fetal undernutrition are unlikely to be attributable to altered pituitary function. Additionally, these studies raise the possibility that thyroid hormones may have a role in the expression of maternal undernutrition effects on fetal development.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: BioScientifica
Copyright: © 2002 Society for Endocrinology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/52294
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