Branched-chain Amino Acids Reverse the Growth of Intrauterine Growth Retardation Rats in a Malnutrition Model


This experiment was conducted to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with BCAA (branched-chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine) on improving the growth of rats in a malnutritional IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Retardation) model, which was established by feeding restriction. In the experimental treatment, rats were fed purified diets supplemented with BCAA (mixed) during the whole gestation period, while arginine and alanine supplementation were set as the positive and negative control group, respectively. The results showed that, compared to the effect of alanine, BCAA reversed IUGR by increasing the fetus weights by 18.4% and placental weights by 18.0% while fetal numbers were statistically increased. Analysis of gene and protein expression revealed that BCAA treatment increased embryonic liver IGF-I expression; the uterus expressed higher levels of estrogen receptor-α (ER-α) and progesterone receptor (PR), and the placenta expressed higher levels of IGF-II. Amino acid analysis of dam plasma revealed that BCAA supplementation effectively enhanced the plasma BCAA levels caused by the feed restriction. BCAA also enhanced the embryonic liver gluconeogenesis by augmenting the expression of two key enzymes, namely fructose-1,6-biphosphatase (FBP) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK). In conclusion, supplementation of BCAA increased litter size, embryonic weight and litter embryonic weight by improving the dam uterus and placental functions as well as increasing gluconeogenesis in the embryonic liver, which further provided energy to enhance the embryonic growth. (

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@inproceedings{Zheng2009BranchedchainAA, title={Branched-chain Amino Acids Reverse the Growth of Intrauterine Growth Retardation Rats in a Malnutrition Model}, author={Chuan Zheng and Chengfei Huang and Yunhe Cao and Junjun Wang}, year={2009} }