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Comparison of myelination between large and small pig fetuses during late gestation

Vallet, J.L., Miles, J.R.
Animal reproduction science 2012 v.132 no.1-2 pp. 50
brain stem, cerebellum, fetus, gilts, litter size, messenger RNA, myelin proteins, myelin sheath, myelination, piglets, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, pregnancy, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, sodium dodecyl sulfate, spinal cord, stems, thin layer chromatography
We compared myelination of the cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord in the largest and smallest pig fetuses within a litter during late gestation. Gilts were killed on Days 92, 100, and 110 of gestation and these neural tissues were obtained from the largest and smallest fetuses in each litter. Myelin basic protein (MBP) mRNA was quantified in each tissue using real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR). Myelin was recovered from each tissue and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and thin layer chromatography (TLC) was used to measure MBP and lipids, respectively. MBP mRNA increased with advancing gestation in all three tissues examined (P≤0.05) and was less in brain stem of small piglets compared to large piglets (P<0.01). Two coomassie stained protein bands (HMBP and LMBP) were observed by SDS-PAGE. Six prominent lipid bands were obtained by TLC (cholesterol, hydroxy(h)-cerebroside, nonhydroxy(nh)-cerebroside, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin). Significant day by fetal size interactions for cerebellar MBP and lipids indicated that cerebellar myelination in the smallest fetuses was less compared to the largest fetuses on Days 100 and 110 of gestation. Myelin MBP and lipid obtained from brain stem increased with advancing gestation and LMBP and lipids were less in small piglets compared to large piglets. In contrast, myelination in spinal cord increased with day of gestation but was not different between smallest and largest fetuses. These results confirm that myelination of the cerebellum and brain stem, but not spinal cord, is reduced in small fetuses during late gestation.