The roles of polyamines in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is studied. The DL-α-difluoromethyl ornithine (DFMO), an irreversible inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) which is a rate limiting enzyme of polyamine synthesis was administrated to pregnant rats so that we obtained rat fetuses with IUGR. The changes of maternal nutrition, damage of the placenta, and the direct effect of DFMO on the fetus were examined in this IUGR model. Administration of DFMO did not induced changes of maternal nutrition except for triglyceride and the fetal metabolic state. But the placental weight, ODC activity, and DNA in the placenta were decreased significantly. The ODC activity in the total placenta decreased to less than 10% of that of the control. Depression of ODC activity in the placenta may be the major cause of IUGR induced by DFMO administration, and polyamines play important roles to carry pregnancy.
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