Interpretive Summary: Seasonal and temporal variation in the placenta during melatonin supplementation in a bovine compromised pregnancy model
By: Zully E Contreras-Correa, Taylor Cochran, Abbie Metcalfe, Derris D Burnett, Caleb O Lemley
Maternal nutrient restriction during the last trimester of pregnancy impairs the fetal development, increases morbidity and mortality, and reduces its performance in adult life. Animals with compromised pregnancies exhibit a reduction in uterine blood flow thereby limiting the nutrients available for the fetus to grow and develop. Melatonin, a hormone that many people use as a sleep aid, could be a solution as a potential therapeutic in cattle since it has antioxidant properties and has been shown to regulate blood flow and rescue fetal weight during compromised pregnancies. In the current study, we examined the changes in placental vascularity and gene expression when supplementing underfed dams with dietary melatonin during late gestation in a group of fall-calving and spring-calving heifers. Contrary to our hypothesis melatonin did not control the placental circadian clock gene network, while maternal nutrient restriction disrupted the gene expression in the placenta. Furthermore, this study found that gene expression in the placenta is seasonally dependent.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.