Short-term maternal psychological stress in the post-conception period in ewes affects fetal growth and gestation length

Smith, J., Ferguson, D., Jauregui, G., Panarace, M., Medina, M., Lehnert, S. and Jonathan Hill (2008) Short-term maternal psychological stress in the post-conception period in ewes affects fetal growth and gestation length. Reproduction, 136 2: 259-265. doi:10.1530/REP-07-0400


Author Smith, J.
Ferguson, D.
Jauregui, G.
Panarace, M.
Medina, M.
Lehnert, S.
Jonathan Hill
Title Short-term maternal psychological stress in the post-conception period in ewes affects fetal growth and gestation length
Journal name Reproduction   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1470-1626
Publication date 2008-01-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1530/REP-07-0400
Open Access Status
Volume 136
Issue 2
Start page 259
End page 265
Total pages 7
Editor Fleming, T.
Place of publication UK
Publisher BioScientifica Ltd
Language eng
Subject C1
070206 Animal Reproduction
830310 Sheep - Meat
Abstract Fetal development can be influenced by maternal environment in the peri-conceptional period. This study investigated the effect of maternal feed intake and psychological stress within the first 6 days after conception on embryo development and fetal growth. Superovulated ewes (n=40) were artificially inseminated with semen from one ram. Ewes were then divided into four groups (n=10): group 1 (control) was fed at maintenance level, group 2 (high) at 2x maintenance, and group 3 (low) at 0.5x maintenance on days 2–6 after conception. Group 4 (stress) was fed at maintenance level and then an intense physical and psychological stress challenge was applied for 1 h only on days 2 and 3 after conception. Embryos were recovered at day 6. A total of 113 transferable grade embryos were transferred singly into synchronized untreated recipients, while the remaining embryos (n=165) were fixed and stained for cell counts. Post-conception maternal stress or feed intake did not alter the cell count or grade of day 6 embryos. Fetuses from the stress group had longer crown-rump lengths at day 30 and longer femur length at day 58. Fetuses from the stressed and high feed groups had greater abdominal circumferences at day 85. Subsequent birth weights were not significantly different. Ewes carrying lambs from the stress treatment had shorter gestation lengths. These results show that short-term perturbations of the post-conception maternal environment have measurable effects on fetal development and gestation length.
Keyword Developmental Biology
Reproductive Biology
Developmental Biology
Reproductive Biology
DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 14 Apr 2009, 20:07:06 EST by Narelle Poole on behalf of School of Veterinary Science