This study investigated the effects of undernutrition and the presence of the conceptus at the time of maternal recognition of pregnancy on the expression of uterine indicators of metabolism in ewes. Adult Rasa Aragonesa ewes were allocated to one of two planes of nutrition for 28 days: maintenance energy intake (control; 5 cyclic and 6 pregnant ewes) providing 7.8 MJ of metabolisable energy, and 0.5 maintenance intake (undernourished; 6 cyclic and 7 pregnant ewes) providing 3.9 MJ of metabolisable energy per ewe. RNA from intercaruncular uterine tissue was harvested at slaughter on Day 14 of estrous cycle or pregnancy, and hybridized to the Agilent 15K Sheep Microarray chip. Functional bioinformatics analyses were performed using PANTHER (Protein ANalysis THrough Evolutionary Relationships) Classification System. The presence of the embryo upregulated expression of genes encoding peptide and monocarboxylate transporters regardless of nutritional treatment, although the degree of gene expression was lower in undernourished ewes. Genes encoding enzymes involved in glycolysis were downregulated both in pregnant control and undernourished ewes, probably as a compensatory mechanism for the increased glucose transport to the uterus. Compared with control cyclic ewes, control pregnant ewes had greater expression of genes involved in oxidation of fatty acids, suggesting increased uterine energy demands. This was not observed in undernourished pregnant animals when compared to undernourished cyclic ewes; nevertheless, those animals had lower uterine expression of enzymes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis. The presence of the embryo upregulated genes involved in electron transport probably as a result of increased energy demands for pregnancy. Overall, the data indicate that depending on the nutritional status of ewe, pregnancy alters gene expression of metabolic pathways related to energy generation in the uterus. An impairment in nutrient transport and metabolism in the uterus of pregnant undernourished ewes may explain the greater embryo mortality associated with undernutrition.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Apr 1 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Small Animals
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology