Effect of maternal fasting on fetal and placental lipid metabolism in swine.

P. J. Ruwe, C. K. Wolverton, M. E. White, T. G. Ramsay

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18 Scopus citations


This experiment was designed to determine whether mobilizing maternal energy stores by fasting pregnant gilts would promote fetal energy storage by altering placental and fetal lipid metabolism. Pregnant gilts were fed a 15% tallow diet from d 80 to 99 and then fed a basal high-carbohydrate diet (control) or fasted from d 100 to 110 of gestation. Caesarean section was performed on d 110. Fasting caused maternal nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels to increase 7.5-fold, beta-hydroxybutyric acid (beta-HBA) levels to increase 4.8-fold triglyceride (TG) levels to decrease 1.8-fold, and no change in plasma glucose concentration compared with controls. Fasted fetuses had a 1.3-fold increase in NEFA, 1.9-fold decrease in TG, 1.5-fold decrease in glucose, and no change in beta-HBA levels compared with control fetuses. Distribution of NEFA in fetal plasma was different from distribution of NEFA in maternal plasma. Esterification of [14C]-palmitate by maternal placenta and fetal adipose tissue was reduced by fasting, but other parameters of fatty acid metabolism were unaffected. Fasting decreased lipoprotein lipase activity per milligram of protein by 33% in maternal placenta and by 44% in fetal adipose tissue. Glycogen content of fetal liver and skeletal muscle was reduced by fasting pregnant gilts, but there was no detectable effect on percentage of carcass lipid of the fetus. These data suggest that fasting mobilizes maternal fuel stores but that these stores are not effectively used by the placenta or transported to the fetus for storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935-1944
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991


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