Growth and development of the ovine conceptus. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study was designed to characterize development of the ovine conceptus throughout gestation to establish the temporal relationships in metabolites, electrolytes, fluid volumes within the placenta, and hormonal changes with fetal growth. Length and weight of placentae, weight of cotyledons, and uterine weight increased between d 25 and 80 of gestation in advance of increases in fetal growth between d 80 and 140 of gestation. Allantoic fluid volumes changed (P < 0.01) between d 25 (21 mL) and 40 (91 mL), decreased to d 70 (32 mL), and then increased to d 140 (438 mL). Concentrations and total amounts of proteins in allantoic fluid were reduced between d 25 and 50, but total protein increased (P < 0.01) from d 40 (63 mg) to d 140 (2,991 mg). Concentrations of fructose in allantoic fluid varied between 2 and 6 mg/mL throughout gestation, but total fructose increased (P < 0.01) between d 25 (46 mg) and d 120 (679 mg). Concentrations of glucose ranged from 0.1 to 0.3 mg/mL, and total glucose increased (P < 0.05) from d 25 (3 mg) to d 140 (63 mg) of gestation. Amniotic fluid volume increased (P < 0.01) between d 30 and 140. Concentrations of estrogens in allantoic fluid, maternal uterine artery, and uterine vein increased (P < 0.01) with advancing pregnancy, and concentrations of progesterone in allantoic fluid (P < 0.07) and plasma (P < 0.05) were affected by day of gestation. Concentrations of glucose were greater (P < 0.05) in uterine artery than uterine vein, but concentrations of electrolytes and osmolarity of plasma were not affected by day of gestation. Increases in weights of fetal organs were proportional to increases in fetal weight during gestation. Results of the present study of conceptus growth and development highlight areas of needed research and provide benchmarks for comparisons when evaluating effects of various treatments, environmental conditions, and epigenetics on successful outcomes of pregnancy in sheep.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Bazer, F. W., Spencer, T. E., & Thatcher, W. W.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Bazer, FW||Spencer, TE||Thatcher, WW

publication date

  • January 2012