The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The effect of moderate early gestation undernutrition on kidney glomerular number in fetal sheep

Record type: Article

Poor in utero nutrition is implicated in the association between low birth weight and the development of hypertension in adulthood (Barker et al., 1989). It has been proposed that this association may result from impaired prenatal kidney growth and lower nephron endowment induced by suboptimal in utero nutrition (Brenner et al., 1988). In addition thinner mothers, which may indicate relatively poorer nutrition, tend to have fetuses that have kidneys that are relatively narrow for their length (Mukherjee et al., 2005). A 50% nutrient restriction from 1 to 31 days gestation (dGA, term ~147 dGA) alters renal and cardiovascular control in adult male sheep offspring (Cleal et al., 2004). This challenge is associated with altered blood pressure (BP) responses to angiotensin II but no changes in kidney size or function in late gestation fetuses (Braddick et al., 2006). The aim of the current study was to determine if fetal kidney structure is altered by early gestation undernutrition. Pregnant ewes were housed individually and fed 100% (C, n = 8) or 40% (R, n = 8) of their total nutrient requirements between 1 and 31 dGA, and 100% thereafter. All fetuses were singletons, the sex ratio was 1:1 in C and 5:3 in R groups. At post-mortem (127 dGA) the left kidney was perfusion fixed with formalin. Each kidney was cut in half and cut into 5 mm slices. Systematic sampling was used to select every 10th piece which was embedded in glycomethacylate resin. The selected blocks were sectioned at 2 µm, and every 200th and 210th pair were collected and stained with toluidine blue. The physical dissector technique was used to count the number of glomeruli in the cortex using by light microscopy. Data are mean ± SEM and were analysed by Student’s t-test. Fetal body (C = 2.91 ± 0.08; R = 2.92 ± 0.12 kg) and kidney weight (Right; C = 9.66 ± 0.61; R = 9.80 ± 0.40 g; Left; C = 11.65 ± 0.56; R = 11.33 ± 0.56 g) were similar in both groups. There was no significant difference in fetal glomerular number in the left kidney in R compared to C fetuses (C = 326,100 ± 40,850; R = 457,300 ± 118,700). Early gestation nutrition restriction did not alter fetal or organ growth or kidney development in late gestation sheep. Therefore altered renal and cardiovascular control in adult sheep following early gestation nutrient restriction is not due to altered glomerular number.

Full text not available from this repository.


Braddick, L., Burrage, D., Cleal, J., Noakes, D., Hanson, M.A. and Green, L.R. (2007) The effect of moderate early gestation undernutrition on kidney glomerular number in fetal sheep Proceedings of the Physiological Society, 6, (PC3)

More information

Published date: 2007
Additional Information: Poster communication
Keywords: sheep, kidney, fetal sheep, fetal, undernutrition


Local EPrints ID: 60932
PURE UUID: b41ebdd4-e347-4a91-bfdc-b551e77f5d40
ORCID for L.R. Green: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Apr 2009
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:22

Export record


Author: L. Braddick
Author: D. Burrage
Author: J. Cleal
Author: D. Noakes
Author: M.A. Hanson
Author: L.R. Green ORCID iD

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.