[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: By combining the chick embryo model with incubation at high altitude (HA), the effects of chronic hypoxia on fetal growth, fetal cardiac and aortic wall remodeling and systemic arterial blood pressure at adulthood were reported. Using non-invasive functional echocardiography, here we investigated the in vivo effects of HA hypoxia on the pulmonary circulation at adulthood in male and female chickens. Methods and Results: Chick embryos were incubated, hatched and raised at sea level (SL) or at HA. At 6 months of age, functional echocardiography was performed and the body and heart weights were taken. Heart weight was heavier in males but not in female HA chickens compared to their same sex SL counterparts. Similarly, male but not female HA chickens had greater in vivo right ventricular wall thickness compared to their same sex SL counterparts. The tricuspid pressure gradient was greatly enhanced in HA male and HA female chickens. However, the increment in the tricuspid pressure gradient was greater in HA males than in HA females. The pulmonary artery diameter was also enhanced in HA males than in SL males. In contrast, HA did not affect this variable in female chickens. Conclusions: The data show that chronic hypoxia during development at HA is associated with echocardiocraphic indices of pulmonary hypertension at adulthood in a highly sex-dependent manner.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although it is accepted that impaired placental perfusion in complicated pregnancy can slow fetal growth and programme an increased risk of cardiovascular dysfunction at adulthood, the relative contribution of reductions in fetal nutrition and in fetal oxygenation as the triggering stimulus remains unclear. By combining high altitude (HA) with the chick embryo model, we have previously isolated the direct effects of HA hypoxia on embryonic growth and cardiovascular development before hatching. This study isolated the effects of developmental hypoxia on cardiovascular function measured in vivo in conscious adult male and female chickens. Chick embryos were incubated, hatched and raised at sea level (SL, nine males and nine females) or incubated, hatched and raised at HA (seven males and seven females). At 6 months of age, vascular catheters were inserted under general anaesthesia. Five days later, basal blood gas status, basal cardiovascular function and cardiac baroreflex responses were investigated. HA chickens had significantly lower basal arterial PO2 and haemoglobin saturation, and significantly higher haematocrit than SL chickens, independent of the sex of the animal. HA chickens had significantly lower arterial blood pressure than SL chickens, independent of the sex of the animal. Although the gain of the arterial baroreflex was decreased in HA relative to SL male chickens, it was increased in HA relative to SL female chickens. We show that development at HA lowers basal arterial blood pressure and alters baroreflex sensitivity in a sex-dependent manner at adulthood.
Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 02/2013; 4(01).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By combining the chick embryo model with incubation at high altitude, this study tested the hypothesis that development at high altitude is related to a fetal origin of adrenocortical but not adrenomedullary suppression and that hypoxia is the mechanism underlying the relationship. Fertilized eggs from sea-level or high altitude hens were incubated at sea level or high altitude. Fertilized eggs from sea-level hens were also incubated at altitude with oxygen supplementation. At day 20 of incubation, embryonic blood was taken for measurement of plasma corticotropin, corticosterone, and Po(2). Following biometry, the adrenal glands were collected and frozen for measurement of catecholamine content. Development of chick embryos at high altitude led to pronounced adrenocortical blunting, but an increase in adrenal catecholamine content. These effects were similar whether the fertilized eggs were laid by sea-level or high altitude hens. The effects of high altitude on the stress axes were completely prevented by incubation at high altitude with oxygen supplementation. When chick embryos from high altitude hens were incubated at sea level, plasma hormones and adrenal catecholamine content were partially restored toward levels measured in sea-level chick embryos. There was a significant correlation between adrenocortical blunting and elevated adrenal catecholamine content with both asymmetric growth restriction and fetal hypoxia. The data support the hypothesis tested and provide evidence to isolate the direct contribution of developmental hypoxia to alterations in the stress system.
High altitude medicine & biology 01/2011; 12(1):79-87. · 1.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The partial contributions of reductions in fetal nutrition and oxygenation to slow fetal growth and a developmental origin of cardiovascular disease remain unclear. By combining high altitude with the chick embryo model, we have previously isolated the direct effects of high-altitude hypoxia on growth. This study isolated the direct effects of high-altitude hypoxia on cardiovascular development. Fertilized eggs from sea-level or high-altitude hens were incubated at sea level or high altitude. Fertilized eggs from sea-level hens were also incubated at high altitude with oxygen supplementation. High altitude promoted embryonic growth restriction, cardiomegaly and aortic wall thickening, effects which could be prevented by incubating eggs from high-altitude hens at sea level or by incubating eggs from sea-level hens at high altitude with oxygen supplementation. Embryos from high-altitude hens showed reduced effects of altitude incubation on growth restriction but not on cardiovascular remodeling. The data show that: (1) high-altitude hypoxia promotes embryonic cardiac and vascular disease already evident prior to hatching and that this is associated with growth restriction; (2) the effects can be prevented by increased oxygenation; and (3) the effects are different in embryos from sea-level or high-altitude hens.
Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 01/2010; 1(01):60 - 66.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence that high altitude populations may be better protected from hypoxic pulmonary hypertension than low altitude natives, but the underlying mechanism is incompletely understood. In Tibetans, increased pulmonary respiratory NO synthesis attenuates hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. It has been speculated that this mechanism may represent a generalized high altitude adaptation pattern, but direct evidence for this speculation is lacking. We therefore measured systolic pulmonary-artery pressure (Doppler chocardiography) and exhaled nitric oxide (NO) in 34 healthy, middle-aged Bolivian high altitude natives and in 34 age- and sex-matched, well-acclimatized Caucasian low altitude natives living at high altitude (3600 m). The mean+/-SD systolic right ventricular to right atrial pressure gradient (24.3+/-5.9 vs. 24.7+/-4.9 mmHg) and exhaled NO (19.2+/-7.2 vs. 22.5+/-9.5 ppb) were similar in Bolivians and Caucasians. There was no relationship between pulmonary-artery pressure and respiratory NO in the two groups. These findings provide no evidence that Bolivian high altitude natives are better protected from hypoxic pulmonary hypertension than Caucasian low altitude natives and suggest that attenuation of pulmonary hypertension by increased respiratory NO synthesis may not represent a universal adaptation pattern in highaltitude populations.
High Altitude Medicine & Biology 02/2008; 9(4):295-9. · 2.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The compelling evidence linking small size at birth with later cardiovascular disease has renewed and amplified scientific and clinical interests into the determinants of fetal growth. It is accepted that genes and nutrition control fetal growth; however, prior to this study, it had been impossible to isolate the effect of increases and decreases in fetal oxygenation on the regulation of prenatal growth. We investigated the role of oxygen in the control of fetal growth in the chicken because in contrast to mammals, the effects on the fetus of changes in oxygenation could be isolated, by assessing them directly without alteration to the maternal or placental physiology or maternal nutrition during development. The data show that incubation at high altitude of fertilized eggs laid by sea level hens markedly restricted fetal growth. Incubation at high altitude of fertilized eggs laid by high altitude hens also restricted fetal growth, but to a lesser extent compared to eggs laid by sea level hens. By contrast, incubation at sea level of fertilized eggs laid by high altitude hens not only restored, but enhanced, fetal growth relative to sea level controls. Incubation at high altitude of sea level eggs with oxygen supplementation completely prevented the high altitude-induced fetal growth restriction. Thus, fetal oxygenation, independent of maternal nutrition during development, has a predominant role in the control of fetal growth. Further, prolonged high altitude residence confers protection against the deleterious effects of hypoxia on fetal growth.
The Journal of Physiology 01/2008; 585(Pt 3):911-7. · 4.38 Impact Factor