Abstract # 11:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: Session 3 (Salon F (Sixth Floor)) Oral Presentation


J. N. Rutherford1, C. S. Ross2 and S. D. Tardif2
1University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Oral Biology, Comparative Primate Biology Laboratory, 801 S. Paulina Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA, 2University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

The mechanisms underlying stillbirth are not well-understood but are linked to maternal factors such as age, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Recent evidence in humans linking birth weight to the ovarian and uterine function as well as to metabolic dysregulation hints that the prenatal environment may play a role in later metabolic and reproductive development that could predispose females to a higher risk of producing stillbirths. Litter size and birth weight variation in captive common marmoset monkeys offers the opportunity to explore the impact of these proxies of fetal development on stillbirth risk in female adults. Triplet females typically have lower birth weights than twins, but grow into larger adults. While twin and triplet females don’t differ in the total number of offspring they produce, triplet females produce stillbirths at nearly 2.5 times the rate as twins (n=78, T-test; 24.9% v. 10.7%; p=0.02). Low birth weight triplets had the highest rate of loss, compared to medium birth weight twins who had the lowest (35.0% v. 4.38%) indicating a complex interaction of intrauterine processes. Possible mechanisms include differential development of the reproductive organs or endocrine axes, as well as programming for adult risk factors of stillbirth such as obesity and hypertension. These findings suggest that the common marmoset may be a useful model for understanding the impact of early life environments on later reproductive function.