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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Restricted feed intake in lactating primiparous sows. II. Effects on subsequent litter sex ratio and embryonic gene expression

Oliver G., Novak S., Patterson J. L., Pasternak J. A., Paradis F., Norrby M., Oxtoby K., Dyck M. K., Dixon W. T., Foxcroft G. R.


Expression of panels of candidate genes controlling myogenesis, angiogenesis and gender-specific imprinting of development were analysed in embryonic, placental and endometrial tissues recovered at Day 30 of gestation from a subset of primiparous sows that were either feed restricted (Restrict; n=17) or fed to appetite (Control; n=15) during the last week of the previous lactation. Embryos were also sex typed to investigate gender bias in response to treatments. Average embryonic weight was lower in the subset of Restrict compared with Control litters (1.38 +/- 0.07 vs 1.59 +/- 0.08 g, respectively) and the male : female sex ratio was higher (P<0.05) in embryos (litters) recovered from Restrict sows. Treatment affected (P <= 0.05) the expression of embryonic and placental genes involved in insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 2 signalling, including IGF2, INSR and IGF2R. Embryonic expression of ESR1 was also affected by treatment (P<0.03) and sex x treatment interactions were observed for the expression of embryonic ESR1 (P<0.05) and placental ANGPT2 (P<0.03). At the molecular level, these results support the suggestion that changes in placental function are not the primary mechanism mediating detrimental effects of previous sow catabolism on early embryonic development in the feed-restricted lactational sow model. However, perturbations in the IGF2 system are implicated as mediators of these effects.


catabolism; epigenetics

Published in

Reproduction, Fertility and Development
2011, volume: 23, number: 7, pages: 899-911

Authors' information

Oliver, Gina
University of Alberta
Novak, Susan
University of Alberta
Patterson, J. L.
University of Alberta
Pasternak, J. Alex
University of Alberta
Paradis, François
University of Alberta
Norrby, Mattias
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Oxtoby, Kristina
University of Alberta
Dyck, Michael
University of Alberta
Dixon, Walter
University of Alberta
Foxcroft, George R.
University of Alberta

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Developmental Biology
Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science

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