Weanling rats exposed to maternal low-protein diets during discrete periods of gestation exhibit differing severity of hypertension.
ABSTRACT 1. In the rat, hypertension is induced by fetal exposure to maternal low-protein diets. The effect on blood pressure of undernutrition before conception and during discrete periods in early, mid or late pregnancy was assessed using an 18% casein (control) diet and a 9% casein to apply mild protein restriction. 2. The offspring of rats fed 9% casein developed raised blood pressure by weaning age. Feeding a low-protein diet before conception was not a prerequisite for programming of hypertension. 3. Hypertension was observed in rats exposed to low protein during the following gestational periods: days 0-7, days 8-14 and days 15-22. Blood pressure increases elicited by these discrete periods of undernutrition were lower than those induced by feeding a low-protein diet throughout pregnancy. The effect in early gestation was significant only in male animals. Post-natal growth of male rats exposed to low-protein diets was accelerated, but kidneys were small in relation to body weight. 4. Biochemical indices of glucocorticoid action in liver, hippocampus, hypothalamus and lung were elevated in rats exposed to low-protein diets in utero. The apparent hypersensitivity to glucocorticoids was primarily associated with undernutrition in mid to late gestation. 5. Plasma renin activity was elevated in rats exposed to 9% casein over days 15-55 of gestation. Animals undernourished over days 0-7 and 8-14 produced pups with lower plasma angiotensin II concentrations at weaning. 6. Fetal exposure to maternal low-protein diets for any period in gestation may programme hypertension in the rat. Alterations to renal structure, renal hormone action or the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis may all play a role in the programming phenomenon, either independently or in concert.
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ABSTRACT: The placenta acts as a physiological barrier, preventing the transfer of maternal glucocorticoids to the developing fetus. This is accomplished via the oxidation, and subsequent inactivation, of endogenous glucocorticoids by the 11- β hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 enzyme (HSD2). Maternal protein restriction during pregnancy has been shown to result in a decrease in placental HSD2 expression and fetal glucocorticoid overexposure, especially late in gestation, resulting in low birth weight and "fetal programming" of the offspring. This dietary intervention impairs fetal growth and cardiovascular function in adult C57BL/6 offspring, but the impact on placental HSD2 has not been defined. The goal of the current study was to examine the effects of a maternal low-protein diet (18% versus 9% protein) on placental HSD2 gene expression and enzyme activity in mice during late gestation. In contrast to previous studies in rats, a maternal low-protein diet did not affect HSD2 protein or enzyme activity levels in the placentas of C57BL/6 mice and this was irrespective of the gender of the offspring. These data suggest that the effects of maternal protein restriction on adult phenotypes in C57BL/6 mice depend upon a mechanism that may be independent of placental HSD2 or possibly occurs earlier in gestation.05/2013; 2013:867938. DOI:10.1155/2013/867938
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ABSTRACT: A host of animal studies have been used to model the effects of exposure to a low protein diet in utero on adult blood pressure. Collection of systolic blood pressure data by the indirect tail-cuff plethysmography method consistently shows increased pressures in low protein exposed rodent offspring compared to controls, but this technique has been criticised as the associated stress artefacts may confound the observed effects. Conversely, radiotelemetry systems allow unrestrained and continuous monitoring of blood pressure through the awake and sleep phases of the diurnal cycle. In this novel study, we directly compared blood pressure parameters in male offspring from low protein and control-fed dams measured simultaneously using tail-cuff and radiotelemetry systems. Control rats showed a good correlation between tail-cuff and radiotelemetry derived blood pressure data. Conversely, low protein males were relatively hypertensive at 8 weeks of age when measured by tail-cuff, but had significantly lower blood pressure than controls at 12 weeks of age when measured by telemetry. Heart rate and length of systole did not differ between the two groups. Individual stress protocols mimicking those imposed by tail-cuff plethysmography (novel environment, heat, restraint, inflation), caused similar increases in blood pressure and heart rate in control and low protein animals, ruling out an effect of enhanced pressor response to stress following prenatal protein restriction. Instead, an increase in peripheral vascular resistance in these animals is considered possible. Such a disparity between central and peripheral blood pressure measurements could have important clinical implications regarding cardiovascular risk assessment and treatment.The Journal of Physiology 10/2010; 588(Pt 19):3809-18. DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2010.194928 · 4.54 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Developmental Origins of Human Adult Disease are thought to be secondary to a perturbation of the embryonic or fetal development, which leads to metabolic disorders such as diabetes or hypertension at adulthood. Maternal undernutrition or overnutrition, repeated glucocorticosteroids administered to the mother, or placental dysfunction are the most frequently considered causal factors. Therefore, it is necessary that the obstetrician is aware of these phenomena, as this knowledge may contribute to the prevention of adult diseases. Little is known yet, on the pathophysiological or epigenetic mechanisms that lead to theses observations, and more studies are needed both in humans and animal models.Journal de Gynécologie Obstétrique et Biologie de la Reproduction 07/2007; 36(4):338-43. · 0.62 Impact Factor