A total of 59 gilts (BW = 137.7 kg) from 3 breeding groups were used to assess the effects of feeding L-carnitine during gestation on gilt growth characteristics, blood metabolites, and uterine and chorioallantoic expression of IGF axis components at d 40, 55, and 70 of gestation. Experimental treatments were arranged in a &ITMEArial, with main effects of added L-carnitine (0 or 50 ppm) and day after initial breeding (d 40,55, or 70 of gestation). All gilts received a constant feed allowance of 1.75 kg/d and a top-dress containing 0 or 50 ppm of L-carnitine beginning on the first day of breeding through the assigned day of gestation. No dietary treatment differences were observed for gilt BW, backfat, or estimated protein or fat mass at any day of gestation. No differences were observed in circulating total and free carnitine at breeding, but concentrations increased (P < 0.01) as day of gestation increased for gilts fed diets containing L-carnitine compared with those fed the control diet. Maternal IGF-I concentration decreased (P < 0.01) from d 0 to 70 for all gilts, with no differences between treatments. Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 mRNA (P = 0.05) and IGFBP-5 mRNA (P = 0.01) increased in the endometrium of gilts supplemented with L-carnitine. These data demonstrate that L-carnitine supplementation and day of gestation alter the expression of the IGF axis by changing the expression of IGFBP at the fetal-maternal interface in swine. These changes in the IGF axis at the fetal maternal interface may aid in determining the reasons for the effects of L-carnitine on reproductive traits.
- Insulin-like growth factor
- Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins
- Messenger RNA