Introduction: Inadequate fetal growth has severe consequences for both neonatal and adult development. It is hypothesised that the feto-maternal interface associated with the lightest and male fetuses will undergo more apoptosis and less proliferation than those supplying the closest to mean litter weight (CTMLW) and female fetuses respectively. Methods: Placental and endometrial samples associated with the lightest and CTMLW (gestational day (GD) 18 and 30), male and female (GD45, 60 and 90) Large White X Landrace conceptuses or fetuses were obtained. The mRNA expression of candidate genes involved in apoptosis or proliferation (BAX, BCL2, P53 and KI67) was quantified by qPCR. TUNEL staining was performed on placental samples supplying the lightest and CTMLW fetuses (GD45 and 60), of both sex (GD60). Results: Placentas associated with the lightest fetuses had decreased P53 and KI67 expression compared to the CTMLW fetuses at GD45. At GD60, P53 expression was increased in placentas supplying the lightest compared to CTMLW fetuses. P53 expression was increased in endometrial samples associated with the lightest compared to the CTMLW fetuses at GD45. At GD30 and GD60 respectively, BAX expression was increased and BCL2, P53 and KI67 expression were decreased in endometrial samples associated with females compared to their male littermates. TUNEL staining revealed no association between fetal size or sex, and apoptotic cell number. Discussion: This study has highlighted dynamic associations between fetal size, sex, and apoptosis and proliferation at the porcine feto-maternal interface. Further studies should be performed to improve the understanding of the mechanisms behind these findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Developmental Biology