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Interpretive Summary: Maternal supply of a source of omega-3 fatty acids and methionine during late gestation on the offspring’s growth, metabolism, carcass characteristic, and liver’s mRNA expression in sheep

By: Milca Rosa-Velazquez, Juan Manuel Pinos-Rodriguez, Anthony J. Parker, and Alejandro E. Relling

Late gestation supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids (FAs) or methionine (Met) alters the offspring’s development. However, the effect of both nutrients on the physiology and growth of the progeny has not been explored. The experiment’s objective was to evaluate the effect of dam supplementation with a Met and the omega-3 FAs, such as eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, during late gestation on growth, energy metabolism, and inflammatory response markers of the lamb. Ewes received one of the four following treatments: basal diet without FA or Met, FA supplementation, Met supplementation, or FA and Met supplementation. Supplementation of omega-3 FAs and Met did not show a greater effect on postnatal growth and metabolism of the offspring compared with the supplementation of each nutrient individually. However, individual supplementation influences offspring development with a concomitant change in markers involved in the inflammatory response and energy metabolism. Results of the present experiment suggest that offspring born to mothers that were fed FAs or Met on late gestation could have the ability to better cope with inflammatory processes, which could improve their long-term growth performance. Moreover, maternal supplementation of Met during late gestation could modulate offspring’s glucose–insulin system, which may also affect offspring’s growth.

Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.