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Characterization of early changes in fetoplacental hemodynamics in a diet-induced rabbit model of IUGR

  • J. López-Tello (a1), A. Barbero (a2), A. González-Bulnes (a3) (a4), S. Astiz (a3), M. Rodríguez (a5), N. Formoso-Rafferty (a1), M. Arias-Álvarez (a1) and P. G. Rebollar (a5)...


Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is associated with adverse perinatal outcomes and late-onset diseases in offspring. Eating disorders, voluntary caloric restriction and maternal undernutrition can all induce IUGR but a relevant model is required to measure all its possible consequences. In this work, pregnant rabbits were used as an IUGR model. Control females (n=4) received ad libitum diet throughout pregnancy, whereas underfed females (n=5) were restricted to 50% of their daily requirements. Offspring size was measured by ultrasonography and in vivo at birth. Hemodynamic features of the umbilical cords and middle cerebral arteries (systolic peak velocity, end diastolic velocity, pulsatility index and resistance index) were characterized by Doppler ultrasonography. At day 21, maternal underfeeding resulted in a significant reduction of fetal size (occipito-nasal length). At birth, the size of kits from the underfed group was significantly lower (lower crown-rump length, biparietal and transversal thoracic diameters) and a reduced weight with respect to the control group. Feed restriction altered blood flow perfusion compared with does fed ad libitum (significant higher systolic peak, time-averaged mean velocities and lower end diastolic velocity). Fetuses affected by IUGR presented with compensative brain-sparing effects when compared with the control group. In conclusion, the present study supports using rabbits and the underfeeding approach as a valuable model for IUGR studies. These results may help to characterize IUGR alterations due to nutrient restriction of mothers in future research.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: P. G. Rebollar, Department of Animal Production, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain. (Email


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Characterization of early changes in fetoplacental hemodynamics in a diet-induced rabbit model of IUGR

  • J. López-Tello (a1), A. Barbero (a2), A. González-Bulnes (a3) (a4), S. Astiz (a3), M. Rodríguez (a5), N. Formoso-Rafferty (a1), M. Arias-Álvarez (a1) and P. G. Rebollar (a5)...


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