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Title: Investigating the porcine feto-maternal interface throughout gestation : associations with foetuses of different size and sex
Author: Stenhouse, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 7919
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Background: Inadequate foetal growth cannot be remedied postnatally, leading to severe consequences for neonatal and adult development. Furthermore, sexual dimorphism in placental development has been suggested in humans although this remains poorly investigated in the pig. Hypotheses: Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) occurs due to aberrant conceptus attachment, which leads to alterations in angiogenesis and vascularity of the feto-maternal interface. Altered gene expression and vascularity will be observed at the feto-maternal interface in male foetuses compared to female foetuses. Increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation will be observed in the feto-maternal interface associated with the lightest foetuses compared to the closest to mean litter weight (CTMLW) foetuses. Aims: This thesis aimed to investigate the association between foetal size and sex and: integrin signalling; apoptotic and proliferation pathways; umbilical arterial (UA) blood flow; and angiogenesis and vascularity at the feto-maternal interface. This was performed by the collection of placental and endometrial samples associated with conceptuses or foetuses of different size (lightest and CTMLW) and sex at gestational day (GD) 18, 30, 45, 60 and 90. Conclusion This thesis has presented novel findings of associations between foetal size and sex, and placental and endometrial integrin signalling, apoptosis and proliferation, and angiogenesis and vascularity. Currently, this is the first suggestion in the literature that foetal size, and more intriguingly foetal sex, may have a strong influence on the activity of the endometrium. The mechanisms behind these findings warrant further investigation. Switches in the direction of differences at the feto-maternal interface between foetuses of different size were observed throughout gestation, notably between GD45 and 60, highlighting the dynamic nature of the feto-maternal interface and suggesting this as a potential window that could be manipulated by the industry to attempt to rescue the postnatal phenotype of IUGR piglets.
Supervisor: Ashworth, Cheryl ; Donadeu, Francesc Xavier Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: pig foetuses ; prenatal stressors ; integrin signalling pathway ; cell death ; blood flow ; blood vessel formation ; umbilical artery blood