Sex and intrauterine growth restriction modify brain neurotransmitters profile of newborn piglets

M. Vázquez-Gómez, D. Valent, C. García-Contreras, L. Arroyo, C. Óvilo, B. Isabel, A. Bassols, A. González-Bulnes

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10 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 ISDN The current study aimed to determine, using a swine model of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), whether short- and long-term neurological deficiencies and interactive dysfunctions of Low Birth-Weight (LBW) offspring might be related to altered pattern of neurotransmitters. Hence, we compared the quantities of different neurotransmitters (catecholamines and indoleamines), which were determined by HPLC, at brain structures related to the limbic system (hippocampus and amygdala) in 14 LBW and 10 Normal Body-Weight (NBW) newborn piglets. The results showed, firstly, significant effects of sex on the NBW newborns, with females having higher dopamine (DA) concentrations than males. The IUGR processes affected DA metabolism, with LBW piglets having lower concentrations of noradrenaline at the hippocampus and higher concentrations of the DA metabolites, homovanillic acid (HVA), at both the hippocampus and the amygdala than NBW neonates. The effects of IUGR were modulated by sex; there were no significant differences between LBW and NBW females, but LBW males had higher HVA concentration at the amygdala and higher concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, the serotonin metabolite, at the hippocampus than NBW males. In conclusion, the present study shows that IUGR is mainly related to changes, modulated by sex, in the concentrations of catecholamine neurotransmitters, which are related to adaptation to physical activity and to essential cognitive functions such as learning, memory, reward-motivated behavior and stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Catecholamines
  • Indoleamines
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Limbic system
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Swine


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