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Reproduced with permission from Bell AW et al. (1987) Relation between metabolic rate and body size in the ovine fetus. Journal of Nutrition 117: 1181-1186. Used with permission.

Reproduced with permission from Bell AW et al. (1987) Relation between metabolic rate and body size in the ovine fetus. Journal of Nutrition 117: 1181-1186. Used with permission.

placenta. At least a partial explanation can be offered according to the changing proportion of body mass contributed by the major organs (Table 2). Based on the increased mass of skeletal muscle with advancing gestation, fetal whole body fractional synthesis rate should be lower, as skeletal muscle has a relatively lower fractional protein synthetic rate in late gestation than in earlier gestation. A direct relationship between anabolic growth-promoting substances acting as principal regulators of fetal protein synthesis rate, and thus fetal growth rate, cannot be made, however, as plasma concentrations or secretion rates of these substances increase in the fetus as gestation proceeds, while protein synthetic rates decline.

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