Amino Acids

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 1593–1603

Arginine nutrition and fetal brown adipose tissue development in diet-induced obese sheep

  • M. Carey Satterfield
  • Kathrin A. Dunlap
  • Duane H. Keisler
  • Fuller W. Bazer
  • Guoyao Wu
Original Article


The global incidence of human obesity has more than doubled over the past three decades. An ovine model of obesity was developed to determine effects of maternal obesity and arginine supplementation on maternal, placental, and fetal parameters of growth, health, and well being. One-hundred-twenty days prior to embryo transfer, ewes were fed either ad libitum (n = 10) to induce obesity or 100% National Research Council-recommended nutrient requirements (n = 10) as controls. Embryos from superovulated ewes with normal body condition were transferred to the uterus of control-fed and obese ewes on day 5.5 post-estrus to generate genetically similar singleton pregnancies. Beginning on day 100 of gestation, obese ewes received intravenous administration of saline or l-arginine-HCl three times daily (81 mg arginine/kg body weight/day) to day 125, whereas control-fed ewes received saline. Fetal growth was assessed at necropsy on day 125. Maternal obesity increased (1) percentages of maternal and fetal carcass lipids and (2) concentrations of leptin, insulin, glucose, glutamate, leucine, lysine and threonine in maternal plasma while reducing (1) concentrations of progesterone, glycine and serine in maternal plasma and (2) amniotic and allantoic fluid volumes. Administration of l-arginine to obese ewes increased arginine and ornithine concentrations in maternal and fetal plasma, amniotic fluid volume, protein content in maternal carcass, and fetal brown adipose tissue (+60%), while reducing maternal lipid content and circulating leptin levels. Fetal or placental weight did not differ among treatments. Results indicate that arginine treatment beneficially reduces maternal adiposity and enhances fetal brown adipose tissue development in obese ewes.


Adipose tissue Pregnancy Fetus Arginine Sheep Obese 



Brown adipose tissue


Cyclic guanosine monophosphate


Dry matter


National Research Council


White adipose tissue


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Carey Satterfield
    • 1
  • Kathrin A. Dunlap
    • 1
  • Duane H. Keisler
    • 2
  • Fuller W. Bazer
    • 1
  • Guoyao Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Division of Animal SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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