Prenatal Fasudil exposure alleviates fetal growth but programs hyperphagia and overweight in the adult male rat.
ABSTRACT Numerous data indicate that Rho kinase inhibitors, such as Fasudil, may constitute a novel therapy for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We evaluated long-term effects of exposure to Fasudil during late gestation (10 mg/day) in male rat offspring from birth until 9 months. We also analyzed its effects in offspring from hypertensive mothers treated with a nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor (L-NAME; 50 mg/day). Prenatal exposure to Fasudil did not affect birth weight, but increased body weight from postnatal day 7 (P7) to 9 months. In intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) fetuses exposed to L-NAME, maternal Fasudil treatment increased birth weight. At P42 and P180, rats exposed to Fasudil and L-NAME showed alterations of their food intake as well as an increased basal glycemia associated with mild glucose intolerance at 6 months which was also observed in Fasudil-exposed rats. In 9 month-old rats, exposure to Fasudil increased the daily food intake as well as hypothalamic mRNA level of the orexigenic NPY peptide without modulation of the anorexigenic POMC gene expression. Altogether, our data suggest that prenatal Fasudil exposure alleviates fetal growth in IUGR rats, but programs long-term metabolic disturbances including transient perturbations of glucose metabolism, a persistent increase of body weight gain, hyperphagia and an augmented expression of hypothalamic NPY orexigenic gene. We postulate that Fasudil treatment during perinatal periods may predispose individuals to the development of metabolic disorders.