Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Effect of maternal diet on placental development, uteroplacental blood flow, and offspring development in beef cattle

Kimberly A. Vonnahme, Amelia R. Tanner, Manuel Alexander Vasquez Hildago

Downloads: 0
Views: 808


Considerable effort has been made to understand how nutrition influences livestock health and productivity during the postnatal period. Moreover, while efforts have been made to understand how nutrition impacts many different aspects of female reproduction, there is a growing body of literature that focuses on how maternal nutrition impacts the developing fetus. Providing adequate nutrition during pregnancy is important for maternal health and well-being, as well as conceptus development. Proper establishment of the placenta is important for fetal survival. However, placental adaptations to inadequate maternal nutrition, or other stressors, are imperative for fetal growth to be optimal. By understanding how the maternal environment impacts uterine and umbilical blood flows and other uteroplacental hemodynamic parameters, we can better implement supplementation strategies to protect the developing offspring. This review focuses on how maternal nutrition affects conceptus growth in sheep and beef cattle and offspring performance after birth.


maternal nutrition, placenta, umbilical blood flow, uterine blood flow.


Anthony R, Scheaffer A, Wright C, Regnault T. 2003. Ruminant models of prenatal growth restriction. Reproduction, 61(suppl):183-194.

Barker DJP, Martyn CN, Osmond C, Hales CN, Fall CHD. 1993. Growth in utero and serum cholesterol concentration in adult life. Br Med J, 307:1524-1527.

Bauman DE, Eisemann JH, Currie WB. 1982. Hormonal effects on partitioning of nutrients for tissue growth: role of growth hormone and prolactin. Fed Proc, 41:2538-2544.

Bell AW, Greenwood PL, Ehrhardt RA. 2005. Regulation of metabolism and growth during prenatal life. In: Burrin DG, Mersmann HJ (Ed). Biology of Metabolism in Growing Animals. Amsterdam, Holland: Elsevier. pp.3-34.

Borowicz PP, Arnold DR, Johnson ML, Grazul-Bilska AT, Redmer DA, Reynolds LP. 2007. Placental growth throughout the last two-thirds of pregnancy in sheep: vascular development and angiogenic factor expression. Biol Reprod, 76:259-267.

Burton GJ, Fowden AL. 2012. Review: the placenta and developmental programming: balancing fetal nutrient demands with maternal resource allocation. Placenta, 33:S23-S27.

Cafe LM, Hennessy DW, Hearnshaw H, Morris SG, Greenwood PL. 2006. Influences of nutrition during pregnancy and lactation on birth weights and growth to weaning of calves sired by Piedmontese or Wagyu bulls, Aust J Exp Agric, 46:245-255.

Cafe LM, Hennessy DW, Hearnshaw H, Morris SG, Greenwood PL. 2009. Consequence of prenatal and preweaning growth for feedlot growth, intake and efficiency of Piedmontese and Wagyu-sired cattle. Anim Prod Sci, 49:461-467.

Cain AJ, Lemley CO, Walters FK, Christiansen DL, King EH, Hopper RM. 2017. Pre-breeding beef heifer management and season affect mid to late gestation uterine artery hemodynamics. Theriogenology, 87:9-15.

Camacho LE, Lemley CO, Prezotto LD, Bauer ML, Freetly HC, Swanson KC, Vonnahme KA. 2014. Effects of maternal nutrient restriction followed by realimentation during midgestation on uterine blood flow in beef cows. Theriogenology, 81:1248-1256. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.02.006.

Camacho LE, Lemley CO, Dorsam ST, Swanson KC, Vonnahme KA. 2018. Effects of maternal nutrient restriction followed by realimentation during early and mid-gestation in beef cows. II. Placental development, umbilical blood flow, and uterine blood flow responses to diet alterations. Theriogenology, 116:1-11. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2018.04.013.

Close WH, Pettigrew JE. 1990. Mathematical models of sow reproduction. J Reprod Fertil Suppl, 40:83-88.

Corah LR, Dunn TG, Kaltenbach CC. 1975. Influence of prepartum nutrition on the reproductive performance of beef females and the performance of their progeny. J Anim Sci, 3:819-824.

Dandrea J, Cooper S, Ramsay MM, Keller-Woods M, Broughton Pipkin F, Symonds ME, Stephenson T. 2002. The effects of pregnancy and maternal nutrition on the maternal renin-angiotensin system in sheep. Exp Physiol, 87:353-359.

Duvekot JJ, Cheriex EC, Pieters FA, Menheere PP, Peeters LH. 1993. Early pregnancy changes in hemodynamics and volume homeostasis are consecutive adjustments triggered by a primary fall in systemic vascular tone. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 169:1382-1392.

Eifert AW, Wilson ME, Vonnahme KA, Camacho LE, Borowicz PP, Redmer DA, Romero S, Dorsam S, Haring J, Lemley CO. 2015. Effect of melatonin or maternal nutrient restriction on vascularity and cell proliferation in the ovine placenta. Anim Reprod Sci, 153:13-21.

Ferrell CL. 1989. Placental regulation of fetal growth. In: Campion DR, Hausman GJ, Martin RJ (Ed.). Animal Growth Regulation. New York, NY: Plenum. pp. 1-19.

Ford SP. 1999. Cotyledonary placenta. In: Knobil E, Neil JD (Ed). Encyclopedia of Reproduction. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. pp.730-738.

Fowden AL, Ward JW, Wooding FPB, Forhead AJ, Constancia M. 2006. Programming placental nutrient transport capacity. J Physiol, 572:5-15.

Freetly HC, Ferrell CL, Jenkins TG. 2000. Timing of realimentation of mature cows that were feed-restricted during pregnancy influences calf birth weights and  growth rates. J Anim Sci, 78:2790-2796.

Funston RN, Larson DM, Vonnahme KA. 2010. Effects of maternal nutrition on conceptus growth and offspring performance: implications for beef cattle production. J Anim Sci, 88:E205-E215.

Glore SR, Layman DK. 1983. Cellular growth of skeletal muscle in weanling rats during dietary restrictions. Growth, 47:403-410.

Godfrey KM, Barker DJ. 2000. Fetal nutrition and adult disease. Am J Clin Nutr, 71:1344S-1352S.

Gonzales JM, Camacho LE, Ebarb SM, Swanson KC, Vonnahme KA, Stelzleni AM, Johnson SE. 2013. Realimentation of nutrient restricted pregnant beef cows supports compensatory fetal muscle growth. J Anim Sci, 91:4797-4806.

Goodlin R, Quaife M, Dirksen J. 1981. The significance, diagnosis, and treatment of maternal hypovolemia as associated with fetal/maternal illness. Obstet Gynecol Surv, 36:541-542.

Grazul-Bilska AT, Caton JS, Arndt W, Burchill K, Thorson C, Boroczyk E, Bilski JJ, Redmer DA, Reynolds LP, Vonnahme KA. 2009. Cellular proliferation and vascularization in ovine fetal ovaries: effects of undernutrition and selenium in maternal diet. Reproduction, 137:699-707.

Greenwood PL, Hunt AS, Hermanson JW, Bell AW. 2000. Effects of birth weight and postnatal nutrition on neonatal sheep: II. Skeletal muscle growth and development. J Anim Sci, 78:50-61.

Green Wood PL, Bell AW. 2003. Consequences of intra-uterine growth retardation for postnatal growth, metabolism and pathophysiology. Reprod Suppl, 61:195-206.

Greenwood PL, Hearnshaw H, Café LM, Hennessy DW, Harper GS. 2004. Nutrition in utero and pre-weaning has long term consequences for growth and size of Piedmontese and Waygu-sired steers. J Anim Sci, 82(Suppl):408.

Greenwood PL, Cafe LM. 2007. Prenatal and pre-weaning growth and nutrition of cattle: Long-term consequences for beef production. Animal, 1:1283-1296.

Gunn PJ, Schoonmaker JP, Lemenager RP, Bridges GA. 2014. Feeding excess crude protein to gestating and lactating beef heifers: Impact on parturition, milk composition, ovarian function, reproductive efficiency and pre-weaning progeny growth. Livest Sci, 167:435-448.

Gunn PJ, Bridges GA, Lemenager RP, Schoonmaker JP. 2017. Feeding corn distillers grains as an energy source to gestating and lactating beef heifers: Impact of excess protein on feedlot performance, glucose tolerance, carcass characteristics and Longissimus muscle fatty acid profile of steer progeny. Anim Sci J, 88:1364-1371.

Guzman C, Cabrera R, Cardenas M, Larrea F, Nathanielsz PW, Zambrano E. 2006. Protein restriction during fetal and neonatal development in the rat alters reproductive function and accelerates reproductive ageing in female progeny. J Physiol, 572:97-108.

Hammer CJ, Thorson JF, Meyer AM, Redmer DA, Luther JS, Neville TL, Reed JJ, Reynolds LP, Caton JS, Vonnahme KA. 2011. Effects of maternal selenium supply and plane of nutrition during gestation on passive transfer of immunity and health in neonatal lambs. J Anim Sci, 89:3690-3698.

Hoffman LH, Wooding FB, Owens JA, Falconer J, Robinson JS. 1986. Giant and binucleate trophoblast cells of mammals. Am J Physiol, 250:R427-R434.

Hough RL, McCarthy FD, Kent HD, Eversole DE, Wahlberg ML. 1990. Influence of nutritional restriction during late gestation on production measures and passive immunity in beef cattle. J Anim Sci, 68:2622-2627.

Kennedy VC, Mordhorst BR, Gaspers JJ, Bauer ML, Swanson KC, Lemley CO, Vonnahme KA. 2016. Supplementation of corn dried distillers’ grains plus soluble to gestating beef cows fed low-quality forage: II. Impacts on uterine blood flow, circulating estradiol- 17β and progesterone, and hepatic steroid metabolizing enzyme activity. J Anim Sci, 94:4619-4628.

Larson DM, Martin JL, Adams DC, Funston RN. 2009. Winter grazing system and supplementation during late gestation influence performance of beef cows and steer progeny. J Anim Sci, 87:1147-1155.

Lekatz LA, Caton J, Taylor J, Reynolds L, Redmer D, Vonnahme K. 2010. Maternal selenium supplementation and timing of nutrient restriction in pregnant sheep: effects on maternal endocrine status and placental characteristics. J Anim Sci, 88:955-971.

Lekatz LA, Luther J, Caton J, Vonnahme K. 2013. Impacts of maternal nutritional plane on umbilical artery hemodynamics, fetal and placentome growth in sheep. Anim Reprod, 10:99-105.

Lemley CO, Meyer AM, Camacho LE, Neville TL, Newman DJ, Caton JS, Vonnahme KA. 2012. Melatonin supplementation alters uteroplacental hemodynamics and fetal development in an ovine model of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Am J Physiol, 302:R454-R467.

Lemley CO, Meyer AM, Neville TL, Hallford DM, Camacho LE, Maddock-Carlin KR, Wilmoth TA, Wilson ME, Perry GA, Redmer DA. 2014. Dietary selenium and nutritional plane alters maternal endocrine profiles during pregnancy and lactation. Domest Anim Endocrinol, 46:1-11. doi:10.1016/j.domaniend. 2013.09.006.

Long NM, Vonnahme KA, Hess BW, Nathanielsz PW, Ford SP. 2009. Effects of early gestational undernutrition on fetal growth, organ development, and placentomal composition in the bovine. J Anim Sci, 87:1950-1959. doi:10.2527/jas.2008-1672

Long NM, Prado-Cooper MJ, Krehbiel CR, Wettemann RP. 2010a. Effects of nutrient restriction of bovine dams during early gestation on postnatal growth and regulation of plasma glucose1. J Anim Sci, 88:3262-3268. doi:10.2527/jas.2010-3214

Long NM, Prado-Cooper MJ, Krehbiel CR, De Silva U, Wettemann RP. 2010b. Effects of nutrient restriction of bovine dams during early gestation on postnatal growth, carcass and organ characteristics, and gene expression in adipose tissue and muscle. J Anim Sci, 88:3251-3261. doi:10.2527/jas.2009-2512.

Long NM, Tousley CB, Underwood KR, Paisley SI, Means WJ, Hess BW, Du M, Ford SP. 2012. Effects of early- to mid-gestational undernutrition with or without protein supplementation on offspring growth, carcass characteristics, and adipocyte size in beef cattle1. J Anim Sci, 90:197-206. doi:10.2527/jas.2011-4237.

Longo L. 1983. Maternal blood volume and cardiac output during pregnancy: a hypothesis of endocrinologic control. Am J Physiol, 245:R720-R729.

Lund CJ, Donovan JC. 1967. Blood volume during pregnancy. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 98:393-403.

Magness RR. 1998. Maternal cardiovascular and other physiologic responses to the endocrinology of pregnancy. In: Bazer FW (Ed). Endocrinology of Pregnancy. Totowa NJ: Humana Press. pp.507-539. (Contemporary Endocrinology, vol 9).

Martin JL, Vonnahme KA, Adams DC, Lardy GP, Funston RN. 2007. Effects of dam nutrition on growth and reproductive performance of heifer calves. J Anim Sci, 85:841-847.

Micke GC, Sullivan TM, Soares Magalhaes RJ, Rolls PJ, Norman ST, Perry VE. 2010. Heifer nutrition during early- and mid-pregnancy alters fetal growth trajectory and birth weight. Anim Reprod Sci, 117:1-10. doi:10.1016/j.anireprosci.2009.03.010.

Mohrhauser DA, Kern SA, Underwood KR, Weaver AD. 2013. Caspase-3 does not enhance in vitro bovine myofibril degradation by µ-calpain. J Anim Sci, 91:5518-5524.

Mordhorst BR, Zimprich CA, Camacho LE, Bauer ML, Vonnahme KA. 2017. Supplementation of distiller’s grains during late gestation in beef cows consuming low-quality forage decreases uterine, but not mammary blood flow. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr, 101:e154-e164.

Nissen PM, Danielson VO, Jorgensen PF, Oksbjerg N. 2003. Increased maternal nutrition of sows has no beneficial effects on muscle fiber number or postnatal growth and has no impact on the meat quality of the offspring. J Anim Sci, 81:3018-3027.

Owens JA, Falconer J, Robinson JS. 1986. Effect of restriction on placental growth on umbilical and uterine blood flows. Am J Physiol, 250:R427-R434.

Perry VEA, Norman ST, Owen JA, Daniel RCW, Phillips N. 1999. Low dietary protein during early pregnancy alters bovine placental development. Anim Reprod Sci, 55:13-21.

Perry VEA, Norman ST, Daniel RCW, Owens PC, Grant P, Doogan VJ. 2002. Insulin-like growth factor levels during pregnancy in the cow are affected by protein supplementation in the maternal diet. Anim Reprod Sci, 72:1-10.

Prior RL, Laster DB. 1979. Development of the bovine fetus. J Anim Sci, 48:1546-1553.

Pritchard JA. 1965. Changes in the blood volume during pregnancy and delivery. J Am Soc Anesthesiol, 26:393-399.

Radunz AE, Fluharty FL, Day ML, Zerby HN, Loerch SC. 2010. Prepartum dietary energy source fed to beef cows: I. Effects on pre-and postpartum cow performance. J Anim Sci, 88:2717-2728.

Radunz AE, Fluharty FL, Relling AE, Felix TL, Shoup LM, Zerby HN, Loerch SC. 2012. Prepartum dietary energy source fed to beef cows: II. Effects on progeny postnatal growth, glucose tolerance, and carcass composition. J Anim Sci, 90:4962-4974.

Rasby RJ, Wettemann RP, Geisert RD, Rice LE, Wallace CR. 1990. Nutrition, body condition and reproduction in beef cows: fetal and placental development, and estrogens and progesterone in plasma. J Anim Sci, 68:4267-4276.

Reynolds LP, Borowicz PP, Vonnahme KA, Johnson ML, Grazul‐Bilska AT, Redmer DA, Caton JS. 2005. Placental angiogenesis in sheep models of compromised pregnancy. J Physiol, 565(1):43-58.

Reynolds LP, Caton JS, Redmer DA, Grazul‐Bilska AT, Vonnahme KA, Borowicz PP, Luther JS, Wallace JM, Wu G, Spencer TE. 2006. Evidence for altered placental blood flow and vascularity in compromised pregnancies. J Physiol, 572(1):51-58.

Robinson JJ, McDonald I, Fraser C, McHattie I. 1977. Studies on reproduction in prolific ewes. I. Growth of the products of conception. J Agric Sci, 88:539-552.

Robinson JJ, Chidzanja S, Kind K, Lok F, Owens P, Owens J. 1995. Placental control of fetal growth. Reprod Fertil Dev, 7:333-344.

Schrier RW, Briner VA. 1991. Peripheral arterial vasodilation hypothesis of sodium and water retention in pregnancy: implications for pathogenesis of preeclampsia-eclampsia. Obstet Gynecol, 77:632-639.

Sferruzzi-Perri AN, Owens JA, Standen P, Taylor RL, Keinemann GK, Robinson JS, Roberts CT. 2007. Early treatment of the pregnant guinea pig with IGFs promotes placental transport and nutrient partitioning near term. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 292:E668-E676.

Shoup LM, Kloth AC, Wilson TB, Gonzalez-Pena D, Ireland FA, Rodriguez-Zas S, Felix TL, Shike DW. 2015a. Prepartum supplement level and age at weaning: I. Effects on pre-and postpartum beef cow performance and calf performance through weaning. J Anim Sci, 93:4926-4935.

Shoup LM, Wilson TB, Gonzalez-Pena D, Ireland FA, Rodriguez-Zas S, Felix TL, Shike DW. 2015b. Beef cow prepartum supplement level and age at weaning: II. Effects of developmental programming on performance and carcass composition of steer progeny. J Anim Sci, 93:4936-4947.

Spiegler S, Kaske M, Köhler U, Meyer HD, Schwarz JF, Wiedemann S. 2014. Effect of feeding level of pregnant dairy heifers sired by one bull on maternal metabolism, placental parameters and birth weight of their female calves. Anim Reprod Sci, 146:148-156.

Stalker LA, Adams DC, Klopfenstein TJ, Feuz DM, Funston RN. 2006. Effects of pre- and post-partum nutrition on reproduction in spring calving cows and calf feedlot performance. J Anim Sci, 84:2583-2589. Stegeman JH. 1974. Placental development in the sheep and its relation to fetal development. A qualitative and quantitative anatomic and histologic study. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 44:3-72.

Sullivan TM, Micke GC, Magalhaes RS, Martin GB, Wallace CR, Green JA, Perry VEA. 2009. Dietary protein during gestation affects circulating indicators of placental function and fetal development in heifers. Placenta, 30:348-354.

Summers AF, Meyer TL, Funston RN. 2015a. Impact of supplemental protein source offered to primiparous heifers during gestation on I. Average daily gain, feed intake, calf birth body weight, and rebreeding in pregnant beef heifers. J Anim Sci, 93:1865-1870. doi:10.2527/jas.2014-8296

Summers AF, Blair AD, Funston RN. 2015b. Impact of supplemental protein source offered to primiparous heifers during gestation on II. Progeny performance and carcass characteristics. J Anim Sci, 93:1871-1880.

Torgersen CKL, Curran CA. 2006. A systematic approach to the physiologic adaptations of pregnancy. Crit Care Nurs Q, 29:2-19.

Underwood KR, Tong JF, Price PL, Roberts AJ, Grings EE, Hess BW, Means WJ, Du M. 2010. Nutrition during mid to late gestation affects growth, adipose tissue deposition, and tenderness in cross-bred beef steers. Meat Sci, 86:588-593.

Vonnahme KA, Zhu MJ, Borowicz PP, Geary TW, Hess BW, Reynolds LP, Caton JS, Means WJ, Ford SP. 2007. Effect of early gestational undernutrition on angiogenic factor expression and vascularity in the bovine placentome. J Anim Sci, 85:2464-2472.

Vonnahme KA, Lemley CO. 2011. Programming the offspring through altered uteroplacental hemodynamics: How the maternal environment impacts uterine and umbilical blood flow in cattle, sheep and pigs. Reprod Fertil Dev, 24:97-104.

Wallace LR. 1948. The growth of lambs before and after birth in relation to the level of nutrition. J Agric Sci, 38:243-300.

Wango EO, Wooding FBP, Heap RB. 1990. The role of trophoblastic cells in implantation in the goat: a morphological study. J Anat, 171:241-257.

Winterholler SJ, McMurphy CP, Mourer GL, Krehbiel CR, Horn GW, Lalman DL. 2012. Supplementation of dried distillers grains with solubles to beef cows consuming low-quality forage during late gestation and early lactation. J Anim Sci, 90:2014-2025.

Wooding FBP, Wathes DC. 1980. Binucleate cell migration in the bovine placentome. J Reprod Fertil, 59:425-430.

Wooding FBP. 1984. Role of binucleate cells in fetomaternal cell fusion at implantation in the sheep. Am J Anat, 170:233-250.

Wooding FBP. 1992. Current topic: the synepitheliochorial placenta of ruminants: binucleate cell fusion and hormone production. Placenta, 13:101-113.

Wu G, Bazer FW, Wallace JM, Spencer TE. 2006. Board invited review. Intrauterine growth retardation: Implications for the animal sciences. J Anim Sci, 84:2316-2337.

Zhu MJ, Ford SP, Means WJ, Hess BW, Nathanielsz PW, Du M. 2006. Maternal nutrient restriction affects properties of skeletal muscle in offspring. J Physiol, 575:241-250.

5b8fc6550e8825e97959a5ed animreprod Articles
Links & Downloads

Anim Reprod

Share this page
Page Sections