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Placenta. 2008 Aug;29(8):718-24. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2008.05.006. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Serial measurement of uterine blood flow from mid to late gestation in growth restricted pregnancies induced by overnourishing adolescent sheep dams.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK.


Uterine blood flow (UtBF) is a major regulator of transplacental fetal nutrient supply. The aim was to serially measure uterine blood flow from mid to late pregnancy in a paradigm of relatively late onset placental and fetal growth restriction. Singleton bearing adolescent dams was fed high (H) or control (C) nutrient intakes to induce putatively compromised or normal pregnancies, respectively. A perivascular flow probe was attached to the uterine artery of the gravid horn on Day 83 of gestation and UtBF was then recorded continuously for 2h, three times weekly until approximately Day 135, when pregnancies were either terminated or ewes allowed to deliver at term (approximately Day 145). Pregnancy outcome was determined at term in contemporaneous ewes without UtBF assessment. Placental and fetal weights were lower (P<0.001) in H compared with C intake groups and were independent of flow probe surgery and monitoring. Uterine blood flow was lower in H compared with C groups at the first assessment (Day 88, P<0.001) and was positively correlated with adjusted fetal weight at term, irrespective of treatment group (P<0.01). UtBF increased throughout the second half of gestation in both groups. Linear regression analysis of UtBF against day of gestation revealed that the slope was equivalent (5.5 vs. 5.3ml/min per day) and the mean intercept lower (212 vs. 370ml/min, P<0.001) in H compared with C groups, respectively. This study demonstrates the feasibility of serially measuring UtBF within the same individual sheep for a protracted period during the second half of gestation. UtBF was already lower at mid gestation in putatively growth restricted compared with control pregnancies, ahead of any reduction in placental and fetal weight, but increased similarly during the second half of gestation in both groups. These data are commensurate with the reported decrease in placental angiogenic growth factor expression at mid gestation, and, indicate that attenuated UtBF is an early defect in this adolescent paradigm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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