Sexually dimorphic effects of maternal dietary protein restriction on fetal growth and placental expression of 11β-HSD2 in the pig

Yueli Shang, Yimin Jia, Qinwei Sun, Wei Shi, Runsheng LI, Song Wang, Shiyan Sui, Ruqian Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Placental 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11β-HSD2) inactivates glucocorticoids (GCs) to protect fetuses from over-exposure to maternal GCs, yet how maternal malnutrition affects placental 11β-HSD2 expression is unknown. In this study, Meishan sows were fed standard-protein (SP) or low-protein (LP, 50% of SP) diets and fetuses/newborn piglets were weighed and the corresponding placenta and umbilical cord blood were collected on gestational day 70 and the day of parturition. Significant growth retardation was observed in female, but not male, fetuses (P < 0.05) and the newborns (P < 0.01) of the LP group, which was accompanied by sexually dimorphic expression of 11β-HSD2 in placentas. Female fetuses in LP group showed significant decrease in placental 11β-HSD2 protein content (P < 0.05) and enzyme activity (P < 0.05), whereas male fetuses demonstrated significantly enhanced placental 11β-HSD2 activity (P < 0.05). Serum cortisol levels were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in male piglets compared to females, and the effects of maternal protein restriction on thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in the umbilical cord blood were also sex dimorphic. Male piglets in LP group had significantly higher T3 (P < 0.01) and lower T4 (P < 0.01), whereas female piglets showed significantly lower T4 (P < 0.01) with no change in T3. As a result, male piglets in LP group exhibited significantly higher T3/T4 ratio compared to female counterparts. These results indicate that the effects of maternal protein restriction on placental 11β-HSD2 expression are gender-dependent in the pig, and thyroid hormones may be involved in such effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Volume160
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

User-Defined Keywords

  • 11β-HSD2
  • Maternal protein restriction
  • Meishan pigs
  • Placenta
  • Thyroid hormones

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