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Title: The effects of maternal vitamin A status on perinatal growth and development
Author: Antipatis, Christos
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1998
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Maternal vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy is associated with fetal and infant mortality and morbidity. The present study investigated the effects of the severity and duration of vitamin A deficiency on fetal growth and neonatal survival in the rat, and identified key organs affected. The efficacy of different supplementation regimens in reversing deficiency induced changes was also investigated. Weanling rats were fed a diet free or marginal in vitamin A for seven or eight weeks prior to and throughout pregnancy. Subgroups of these rats were supplemented with dietary vitamin A from day 7 of pregnancy onwards or by injection on day 10 and compared with control fed rats on day 20 of pregnancy and at birth. Severe maternal vitamin A deficiency reduced pregnancy rate, fetal number and neonatal survival. Less severe deficiency reduced neonatal survival only. Dietary retinol supplementation, but not deficiency or injection, increased leptin levels. Dietary supplementation partially counteracted the effects on neonatal survival but not on pregnancy rate. Vitamin A deficiency increased placental:fetal ratio. Placentas from severely deficient rats exhibited an infiltrate of TNF- and leptin immuno-positive neutrophils. Increased neutrophil-associated apoptosis and a decrease in the bax:bcl-2 ratio in trophoblast giant cells were also detected. Relative fetal lung, heart and liver weights were reduced but only the relative lung weight was reduced in neonates. Fetal lungs were underdeveloped with fewer elastic fibres, and reduced lung elastin and gas6 expression. Neonatal lungs had reduced relative airspace and smaller sacculae. Dietary retinol supplementation, but not injection, partially counteracted the effects on relative fetal organ weights. These data show that maternal vitamin A deficiency retards fetal development and reduces neonatal survival. These effects may be mediated by changes in placental immunity. Vitamin A deficiency may retard fetal lung development by influencing the differentiation of critical cell lines. Appropriate dietary supplementation may be beneficial on its timing and magnitude.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available