Genotype and fetal size affect maternal--fetal amino acid status and fetal endocrinology in Large White × Landrace and Meishan pigs

Cheryl J. Ashworth, Margaret O. Nwagwu, Harry J. McArdle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared maternal plasma amino acid concentrations, placental protein secretion in vitro and fetal body composition and plasma amino acid and hormone concentrations in feto-placental units from the smallest and a normally-sized fetus carried by Large White×Landrace or Meishan gilts on Day 100 of pregnancy. Compared with Large White×Landrace, Meishan placental tissue secreted more protein and Meishan fetuses contained relatively more fat and protein, but less moisture. Fetal plasma concentrations of insulin, triiodothryonine, thyroxine and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II were higher in Meishan than Large White×Landrace fetuses. In both breeds, fetal cortisol concentrations were inversely related to fetal size, whereas concentrations of IGF-I were higher in average-sized fetuses. Concentrations of 10 amino acids were higher in Large White×Landrace than Meishan gilts, while glutamine concentrations were higher in Meishan gilts. Concentrations of alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and threonine were higher in Meishan than Large White×Landrace fetuses. Average-sized fetuses had higher concentrations of asparagine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrosine and valine than the smallest fetus. This study revealed novel genotype and fetal size differences in porcine maternal-fetal amino acid status and fetal hormone and metabolite concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2012


  • breed
  • feto-placental
  • hormones
  • pregnancy

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