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J Anim Sci Biotechnol. 2015 Apr 11;6(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s40104-015-0012-5. eCollection 2015.

Factors controlling nutrient availability to the developing fetus in ruminants.

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Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, 2471 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843 USA.


Inadequate delivery of nutrients results in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in livestock. In ruminants, inadequate nutrition during pregnancy is often prevalent due to frequent utilization of exensive forage based grazing systems, making them highly susceptible to changes in nutrient quality and availability. Delivery of nutrients to the fetus is dependent on a number of critical factors including placental growth and development, utero-placental blood flow, nutrient availability, and placental metabolism and transport capacity. Previous findings from our laboratory and others, highlight essential roles for amino acids and their metabolites in supporting normal fetal growth and development, as well as the critical role for amino acid transporters in nutrient delivery to the fetus. The focus of this review will be on the role of maternal nutrition on placental form and function as a regulator of fetal development in ruminants.


Intrauterine growth restriction; Nutrient transport; Placenta; Ruminant

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