A low-protein diet (LPD) during pregnancy induces vascular dysfunction and hypertension in the offspring, prevented by administration of an angiotensin II type 1 (AT(1)) receptor antagonist in early life to the offspring. Whether such protection extends to subsequent pregnancy is unknown; we therefore hypothesized that administration of a specific AT(1) receptor antagonist (losartan) in early life to offspring of LPD dams would improve vascular dysfunction in their uterine arteries when they, in turn, were pregnant.
Pregnant rats were randomly divided into two dietary groups fed a control (C) or protein-restricted (R) diet throughout pregnancy. Between two and 10 weeks postnatally, female offspring (F(1)) were randomly assigned to drink either pure tap water (CO, RO) or water with losartan (CL, RL). Offspring were mated and killed on gestational day 19 or 20 in order to investigate uterine artery function.
In pregnant offspring, vasoconstriction of the uterine arteries to phenylephrine (PE) and the thromboxane A2 mimetic U46619 was greater in RO than CO (F(1)). Responses to both antagonists were suppressed in RL (F(1)). Relaxation to sodium nitroprusside was increased in RO versus CO and suppressed in RL versus RO (F(1)).
Administration of an AT(1) receptor antagonist to offspring during the suckling and juvenile period improves the uterine vascular dysfunction in pregnancy induced by prior maternal LPD during their development. Such treatment may contribute to decreasing the transmitted risks of maternal malnutrition from offspring to the subsequent generation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive experimental animal studies and epidemiological observations have shown that environmental influences during early development affect the risk of later pathophysiological processes associated with chronic, especially noncommunicable, disease (NCD). This field is recognized as the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD). We discuss the extent to which DOHaD represents the result of the physiological processes of developmental plasticity, which may have potential adverse consequences in terms of NCD risk later, or whether it is the manifestation of pathophysiological processes acting in early life but only becoming apparent as disease later. We argue that the evidence suggests the former, through the operation of conditioning processes induced across the normal range of developmental environments, and we summarize current knowledge of the physiological processes involved. The adaptive pathway to later risk accords with current concepts in evolutionary developmental biology, especially those concerning parental effects. Outside the normal range, effects on development can result in nonadaptive processes, and we review their underlying mechanisms and consequences. New concepts concerning the underlying epigenetic and other mechanisms involved in both disruptive and nondisruptive pathways to disease are reviewed, including the evidence for transgenerational passage of risk from both maternal and paternal lines. These concepts have wider implications for understanding the causes and possible prevention of NCDs such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, for broader social policy and for the increasing attention paid in public health to the lifecourse approach to NCD prevention.
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