To examine the effects of maternal supranutritional selenium (Se) and nutrient restriction during mid and late gestation on placental characteristics and fetal liver glycogen, ewes received either adequate Se (ASe) or high Se (HSe) prior to breeding. On d 64 of gestation, ASe and HSe ewes remained at 100% of requirements (controls; CON) or were restricted (RES; 60% of requirements). On d 135 of gestation, fetal weight (P ≤ 0.08) was greatest in both HSe and CON ewes. Placentome number, mass, and caruncular and cotyledonary weight were not different (P ≥ 0.17) among treatments. Fetal mass:placental mass ratio was less (P = 0.06) in RES compared to CON ewes. Compared to ASe, HSe exhibited increased (P ≤ 0.08) cellular proliferation and DNA concentration and decreased (P = 0.07) cellular size in cotyledonary tissue. Nutritional restriction decreased (P ≤ 0.08) cotyledonary protein concentration and cellular size. VEGF receptor 1 (Flt) mRNA in cotyledonary tissue was greater in HSe compared with ASe ewes (P = 0.06) and in RES compared with CON ewes (P = 0.08). There was no effect of diet on caruncular growth variables (P ≥ 0.13) or on placental vascularity (P ≥ 0.11). Progesterone was greater (P ≤ 0.08) in ASe-RES ewes compared to all groups at d 90 and ASe-CON and HSe-CON at d 104. Although fetal glucose and cortisol concentrations were not affected by diet, fetal liver glycogen was greater (P = 0.04) in ASe-RES compared to ASe-CON and HSe-RES ewes with HSe-CON being intermediate. Both Se and nutritional plane may impact placental function and fetal growth, as fetal weight and liver glycogen are altered despite similar placental vascularity measurements.
- Fetal glycogen
- Maternal nutrition