Insufficient placental growth is a major factor contributing to intrauterine growth retardation in mammals. There is growing evidence that putrescine produced from arginine (Arg) and proline via ornithine decarboxylase is a key regulator of angiogenesis, embryogenesis, as well as placental and fetal growth. However, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. The present study tested the hypothesis that putrescine stimulates protein synthesis by activating the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway in porcine trophectoderm cell line 2 cells. The cells were cultured for 2 to 4 days in customized Arg-free Dulbecco modified Eagle Ham medium containing 0, 10, 25, or 50 mu M putrescine or 100 mu M Arg. Cell proliferation, protein synthesis, and degradation, as well as the abundance of total and phosphorylated mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1, and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein-1 (4EBP1), were determined. Our results indicate that putrescine promotes cell proliferation and protein synthesis in a dose-and time-dependent manner, which was inhibited by difluoro-methylornithine (an inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase). Moreover, supplementation of culture medium with putrescine increased the abundance of phosphorylated mTOR and its downstream targets, 4EBP1 and p70 S6K1 proteins. Collectively, these findings reveal a novel and important role for putrescine in regulating the mTOR signaling pathway in porcine placental cells. We suggest that dietary supplementation with or intravenous administration of putrescine may provide a new and effective strategy to improve survival and growth of embryos/fetuses in mammals.