Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male erectile dysfunction drug enhances fetal growth in female sheep, study finds

Date:
February 4, 2010
Source:
Texas A&M
Summary:
Viagra (sildenafil citrate), which is used to treat male erectile dysfunction, enhanced blood flow in pregnant female sheep, helping send vital amino acids and other nutrients needed in fetal development, a new study has found. The study's results not only will assist with solving fetal development problems in other livestock, but possibly in humans.

Viagra, a drug used to treat male erectile dysfunction order, was used to enhance blood flow in pregnant female sheep, helping send vital amino acids and other nutrients as metabolic fuels needed in fetal development. Pictured are newborn lambs. The smaller lamb has intrauterine growth retardation, while the larger one has normal intrauterine growth.
Credit: Texas AgriLife Research photo by Dr. Guoyao Wu

A joke among two Texas AgriLife Research scientists later turned into a fully-funded study found Viagra can aid fetal development in female sheep. Female sheep (ewes) are an agriculturally important species, which can serve as an excellent animal model for studying the physiology of human pregnancy, the researchers said.

Viagra (sildenafil citrate), which is used to treat male erectile dysfunction, enhanced blood flow in pregnant female sheep, helping send vital amino acids and other nutrients needed in fetal development. The study's results not only will assist with solving fetal development problems in other livestock, but possibly in humans, said Dr. Guoyao Wu, AgriLife Research animal nutritionist and Senior Faculty Fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University.

"Because 5 percent to 10 percent of infants are born as low birth-weight babies worldwide, and because fetal-growth retardation is also a significant problem in livestock species, our findings have important implications for both human health and animal agriculture," Wu said.

The findings appear in a recent edition of The Journal of Nutrition.

The study originated in 2003 after a chat between Wu and fellow AgriLife Research scientist Dr. Tom Spencer when they were working with pregnant ewes.

"We made a joke that many men are now using Viagra and that women may also have a need for it," Wu said. "Interestingly, one week later, we saw that Pfizer Inc. announced an international request for research proposals on Viagra."

The team submitted a proposal to Pfizer, using pregnant sheep as an animal model for evaluating Viagra's potential role in enhancing fetal growth. The research team would also evaluate both adequate or inadequate maternal intakes of nutrients from the diet, Wu said.

Pfizer selected the proposal and work began.

"Viagra acts like nitric oxide to relax smooth muscle cells of blood vessels and, in turn, allow for increased uterine blood flow," Wu said.

The drug is a synthetic medicine that can be used to stimulate blood flow in humans and animals.

"For pregnant mammals, Viagra can enhance the supply of nutrients from the mother to the fetus via utero-placental blood flow," he said.

The study revealed Viagra increased the blood supply to the fetus in female sheep, supplying amino acids -- a major fuel for fetal growth. Approximately 60 ewes were mated to rams at the Texas A&M University Sheep Center. Pregnant females were randomly selected and treated with or without sildenafil citrate.

Results of the study indicated long-term use of Viagra enhanced fetal weight in both "adequately fed and nutrient-restricted female sheep." Greater concentrations of amino acids and polyamines in fetal blood and placental fluids were found, leading the researchers to suggest that Viagra alters the trafficking of nutrients from the female sheep to the fetus.

It was also observed that Viagra did not affect changes in maternal weight, body condition score, maternal liver mass or muscle weight, Wu said.

"We were surprised that Viagra enhanced ovine fetal growth under the conditions of either adequate or inadequate maternal intakes of nutrients from the diet. The results of our study indicate that augmenting systemic blood flow may be a novel and effective strategy to prevent fetal growth retardation in humans and livestock species without affecting maternal health."

Wu said the team would like to extend its research into future studies involving other mammalian species, including pigs, cows and humans.

The research team includes Fuller Bazer, Carey Satterfield, Spencer and Wu -- all AgriLife Research scientists and faculty members with the animal science department at Texas A&M in College Station.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Carey Satterfield, Fuller W. Bazer, Thomas E. Spencer, and Guoyao Wu. Sildenafil Citrate Treatment Enhances Amino Acid Availability in the Conceptus and Fetal Growth in an Ovine Model of Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Journal of Nutrition, 2010; 140 (2): 251 DOI: 10.3945/jn.109.114678

Cite This Page:

Texas A&M. "Male erectile dysfunction drug enhances fetal growth in female sheep, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203161428.htm>.
Texas A&M. (2010, February 4). Male erectile dysfunction drug enhances fetal growth in female sheep, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203161428.htm
Texas A&M. "Male erectile dysfunction drug enhances fetal growth in female sheep, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203161428.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins