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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 631038, 10 pages
Review Article

Developmental Programming in Response to Intrauterine Growth Restriction Impairs Myoblast Function and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism

1Department of Animal Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0038, USA
2Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
3Agricultural Research Complex, Department of Animal Sciences, The University of Arizona, 1650 E. Limberlost Dr., Tucson, AZ 85719, USA

Received 1 April 2012; Accepted 25 May 2012

Academic Editor: Timothy Regnault

Copyright © 2012 D. T. Yates et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fetal adaptations to placental insufficiency alter postnatal metabolic homeostasis in skeletal muscle by reducing glucose oxidation rates, impairing insulin action, and lowering the proportion of oxidative fibers. In animal models of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), skeletal muscle fibers have less myonuclei at birth. This means that myoblasts, the sole source for myonuclei accumulation in fibers, are compromised. Fetal hypoglycemia and hypoxemia are complications that result from placental insufficiency. Hypoxemia elevates circulating catecholamines, and chronic hypercatecholaminemia has been shown to reduce fetal muscle development and growth. We have found evidence for adaptations in adrenergic receptor expression profiles in myoblasts and skeletal muscle of IUGR sheep fetuses with placental insufficiency. The relationship of β-adrenergic receptors shifts in IUGR fetuses because Adrβ2 expression levels decline and Adrβ1 expression levels are unaffected in myofibers and increased in myoblasts. This adaptive response would suppress insulin signaling, myoblast incorporation, fiber hypertrophy, and glucose oxidation. Furthermore, this β-adrenergic receptor expression profile persists for at least the first month in IUGR lambs and lowers their fatty acid mobilization. Developmental programming of skeletal muscle adrenergic receptors partially explains metabolic and endocrine differences in IUGR offspring, and the impact on metabolism may result in differential nutrient utilization.