Impaired placental hemodynamics and function in a non-human primate model of gestational protein restriction

Jamie O. Lo, Matthias C. Schabel, Jessica Gaffney, Katherine S. Lewandowski, Christopher D. Kroenke, Charles T. Roberts, Brian P. Scottoline, Antonio E. Frias, Elinor L. Sullivan, Victoria H.J. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maternal malnutrition increases fetal and neonatal morbidity, partly by affecting placental function and morphology, but its impact on placental hemodynamics are unknown. Our objective was to define the impact of maternal malnutrition on placental oxygen reserve and perfusion in vivo in a rhesus macaque model of protein restriction (PR) using advanced imaging. Animals were fed control (CON, 26% protein), 33% PR diet (17% protein), or a 50% PR diet (13% protein, n = 8/group) preconception and throughout pregnancy. Animals underwent Doppler ultrasound and fetal biometry followed by MRI at gestational days 85 (G85) and 135 (G135; term is G168). Pregnancy loss rates were 0/8 in CON, 1/8 in 33% PR, and 3/8 in 50% PR animals. Fetuses of animals fed a 50% PR diet had a smaller abdominal circumference (G135, p < 0.01). On MRI, placental blood flow was decreased at G135 (p < 0.05) and placental oxygen reserve was reduced (G85, p = 0.05; G135, p = 0.01) in animals fed a 50% PR diet vs. CON. These data demonstrate that a 50% PR diet reduces maternal placental perfusion, decreases fetal oxygen availability, and increases fetal mortality. These alterations in placental hemodynamics may partly explain human growth restriction and stillbirth seen with severe PR diets in the developing world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number841
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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