Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Rodent models in placental research. Implications for fetal origins of adult disease

Nicole Aguilera; Francisca Salas-Pérez; Macarena Ortíz; Daniela Álvarez; Bárbara Echiburú; Manuel Maliqueo

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Abstract: Rodent models in rats, mice, and guinea pigs have been extremely helpful to gain insight into pregnancy physiology and pathologies-related. Moreover, they have allowed understanding the mechanism that links an adverse intrauterine environment with the origin of adult disease. In this regard, the effects of diverse maternal conditions, such as undernutrition, obesity, hypoxia, and hyperandrogenism on placental function and its long-term consequences for the offspring, have been widely analyzed through rodents models involving dietary manipulations, modifications in environmental oxygen, surgical and pharmacological procedures that reduce uteroplacental blood flow and administrations of exogenous testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) mimicking maternal androgen excess. Both in human and in rodent models, these interventions induce modifications of placental morphology, transport of glucose, amino acid, and fatty acids, steroid synthesis, and signaling pathways control placental function. These changes are associated with the increase of pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. For its part, offspring exhibit alterations in organs involved in metabolic control such as the hypothalamus, adipose tissue, liver, skeletal muscle, and pancreas altering the intake and preferences for certain foods, the metabolism of glucose and lipid, and hormonal function leading to fat accumulation, insulin resistance, fatty liver, dyslipidemia, and elevated glucose levels. Therefore, the present review discusses the evidence emerging from rodent models that relate maternal nutrition, hypoxia, and androgen exposure to the maternal mechanisms that lead to fetal programming and their metabolic consequences in postnatal life.


rodent models, maternal nutrition, hypoxia, and hyperandrogenism


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