Fetal growth and development following temporary exposure of Day 3 ovine embryos to an advanced uterine environment
K. D. Sinclair, L. D. Dunne, E. K. Maxfield, C. A. Maltin, L. E. Young, I. Wilmut, J. J. Robinson and P. J. Broadbent
Reproduction, Fertility and Development
10(3) 263 - 270
The effect of exposing Day 3 ovine embryos to an advanced uterine environment for a period of 3 days on subsequent fetal growth and development between Day 35 and Day 135 of gestation was studied. Day 3 embryos were recovered from superovulated donor ewes and transferred to synchronous final or asynchronous temporary recipients for 3 days. Embryos were recovered from these temporary recipients and transferred to Day 6 final recipients. Gravid uteri were recovered, weighed and dissected on Days 35, 45, 60, 90, 110, 125 and 135 of gestation. Fetal weight and length data were analysed by fitting non-linear Gompertz models of the form loge y = a – be–ct, where y is fetal size and t is time from conception. Various terms including treatment, gestational age, embryo stage at transfer and fetal sex were fitted to this model. Fetal development was assessed by relating organ weight to fetal bodyweight using the linear allometric equation loge y = loge a + b loge x, where y is organ weight and x is fetal weight. Temporary exposure of Day 3 embryos to an advanced uterine environment did not increase the rate of embryo development and had no effect on fetal growth and development between Days 35 and 135 of gestation in this study. A single Gompertz model (loge y = 10.134 – 17.047e –0.01733t) explained 99.8% of the variation in fetal weight. Of terms fitted to this model only gestational age and fetal sex influenced fetal weight, with male fetuses being 5% heavier (P<0.05) than female fetuses. Fetal development was also unaffected by experimental treatment in this study. Allometric coefficients established for various fetal components agreed well with those from previously published studies. Keywords: asynchronous transfer, fetal development, fetal growth, fetal oversize.
Full text doi:10.1071/R98021
© CSIRO 1998