Open Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 6, November-December 2006
Page(s) 601 - 620
Published online 15 December 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 601-620
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2006045

Gestation linked radical oxygen species fluxes and vitamins and trace mineral deficiencies in the ruminant

Bernard Aurousseau, Dominique Gruffat and Denys Durand

INRA Unité de Recherches sur les Herbivores, 63122 St-Genès-Champanelle, France

(Received 3 October 2005; accepted 18 September 2006; published online 15 December 2006)

Abstract - In mammals, radical oxygen species (ROS) are essential factors of cell replication, differentiation and growth (oxidative signal), notably during gestation, but are also potentially damaging agents. In Women, ROS play a role in remodeling of uterine tissues, implantation of the embryo, settlement of the villi and development of blood vessels characteristic of gestation. The body stores of vitamins and minerals of gestating females are used to keep ROS fluxes at a level corresponding to oxidative signals and to prevent an imbalance between their production and scavenging (oxidative stress), which would be detrimental to the mother and fetus. There is some evidence that, although based on different regulatory mechanisms, most of the effects of ROS reported in humans also occur in pregnant ruminant females, some of which have been actually reported. Many vitamins and trace elements have dual effects in the organism of mammals: (a) they are involved in the control of metabolic pathways or/and gene expression, (b) but most of the time they also display ROS trapping activity or their deficiencies induce high rates of ROS production. Deficiencies induce different disorders of gestation and can be induced by different kinds of stress. An example is given, corresponding to the decreased contents of cobalt of forages, when exposed to sustained heavy rains, so that the supply of vitamins B12 to the organism of the ruminant that grazes them is reduced and failure of gestation is induced. Outdoor exposure of ruminants to adverse climatic conditions by itself can increase the vitamin and trace element requirements. Adaptation of production systems taking into account these interactions between gestation and sources of stress or change of the quality of feeding stuffs as well as further developments of knowledge in that field is necessary to promote sustainable agricultural practices.

Key words: gestation / ovine / bovine / vitamins / trace elements / antioxidant enzymes / radical oxygen species / radical phenomena

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006