ABSTRACT: We previously observed arterial sympathetic hyperinnervation and endothelial dysfunction in the chicken embryo after exposure to chronic hypoxia. We now investigate whether changes in arterial properties could also be observed at 14–15weeks of life. Eggs of White Leghorn chicken were incubated under normoxic or moderately hypoxic (15% O2 from days6–19 of a 21-day incubation) conditions. Experiments were performed at 14–15weeks of life under standard conditions (Hm: males exposed to hypoxia; Hf: females exposed to hypoxia; Nm: males exposed to normoxia; Nf: females exposed to normoxia). Body weight at hatching and at 14–15weeks was not affected by in ovo exposure to hypoxia. Mean arterial pressure and heart rate were not significantly altered by chronic in ovo hypoxia. However, isolated femoral arteries were more sensitive to electrical stimulation (frequency in Hz of half-maximal contraction, Hm: 1.620.33, Hf: 1.920.88, Nm: 2.490.49, Nf: 2.830.31) and pharmacological stimulation of peri-arterial sympathetic nerves (contraction in N/m in response to tyramine: Hm: 5.270.85, Hf: 4.100.9, Nm: 2.260.67, Nf: 3.650.51, p=0.07) after in ovo hypoxia. In side branches of the femoral artery, the effect of NO synthase blockade with L-NAME on contraction (in N/m) in response to high K+ (Hm: 0.350.91, Hf: 1.290.36, Nm: 2.880.19, Nf: 2.790.58) and on the sensitivity to acetylcholine (pD2, H: 0.320.11, N: 0.620.05) was reduced after in ovo hypoxia. The present study shows that exposure to chronic moderate hypoxia during development affects the contractile and relaxing arterial responses of 14- to 15-week-old chickens. Although hypoxia did not lead to changes in blood pressure at this age, the observed effects on arterial sympathetic and endothelial function may represent early signs of future cardiovascular abnormalities.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 10/2003; 447(2):158-167. · 4.46 Impact Factor