Arginine nutrition and fetal brown adipose tissue development in nutrient-restricted sheep. Academic Article uri icon


  • Intrauterine growth restriction is a significant problem worldwide, resulting in increased rates of neonatal morbidity and mortality, as well as increased risks for metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The present study investigated the role of maternal undernutrition and L-arginine administration on fetal growth and development. Embryo transfer was utilized to generate genetically similar singleton pregnancies. On Day 35 of gestation, ewes were assigned to receive either 50 or 100% of their nutritional requirements. Ewes received i.v. injections of either saline or L-arginine three times daily from Day 100 to Day 125. Fetal growth was assessed at necropsy on Day 125. Maternal dietary manipulation altered circulating concentrations of leptin, progesterone, and amino acids in maternal plasma. Fetal weight was reduced in nutrient-restricted ewes on Day 125 compared with 100% fed ewes. Compared with saline-treated underfed ewes, maternal L-arginine administration did not affect fetal weight but increased weight of the fetal pancreas by 32% and fetal peri-renal brown adipose tissue mass by 48%. These results indicate that L-arginine administration enhanced fetal pancreatic and brown adipose tissue development. The postnatal effects of increased pancreatic and brown adipose tissue growth warrant further study.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Satterfield, M. C., Dunlap, K. A., Keisler, D. H., Bazer, F. W., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 88

complete list of authors

  • Satterfield, M Carey||Dunlap, Kathrin A||Keisler, Duane H||Bazer, Fuller W||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • January 2013