Fetal and placental traits at day 35 of pregnancy in relation to the estrogen receptor genotype in pigs

B.T.T.M. van Rens, T. van der Lende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Fetuses from gilts with estrogen receptor (ESR) genotype AA (AA-AA and AA-AB) and BB (BB-AB and BB-BB) were compared at Day 35/36 of pregnancy, to examine whether fetal ESR genotype nested within maternal ESR genotype would affect fetal traits. Furthermore the relation of fetal body weight and fetal heart weight to various placental traits were evaluated relative to ESR genotype. Fetal and placental weight and length, and implantation surface area were not affected by fetal ESR genotype nested within maternal ESR genotype. Fetal weight was related similarly to placental length, placental weight, and implantation surface area: up to a certain threshold value (40 cm, 40 g and 250 cm2, respectively), an increase in the trait was associated with an increase of fetal weight. Thereafter, fetal weight did not change anymore. Thus, at Day 35/36 of pregnancy porcine fetuses seem to have a maximum growth potential. The percentage of AA-AA fetuses that had not reached this maximum growth potential was larger than of the other three genotype combinations studied, and therefore a higher subsequent fetal mortality may be expected in this group. Hearts of AA-AB fetuses were significantly heavier than those of BB-AB and BB-BB fetuses and tended to be heavier than those of AA-AA fetuses. The reason for this hypertrophy is unclear, but might be related to a difference in placental vascularity. Heart weight of fetuses from BB gilts increased with fetal weight, while heart weights of fetuses from AA gilts did not. Heart weight increased with an increase of placental length and implantation surface area up to 51 cm and 437 cm2, respectively, and thereafter decreased again. For BB-AB fetuses a similar relation was found between heart weight and placental weight, while heart weight of the other three genotype combinations remained unaffected as placental weight increased. The fetus and placenta are continuously changing during early pregnancy, therefore different mechanisms may change the demands for cardiac output. However, keeping in mind that placental size and blood volume are relatively large, placental vascularity and vascular development may play a major role. Therefore, further research on heart size, placental size and vascularity, relative to ESR genotype, is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-858
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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