Developmental programming of aortic and renal structure in offspring of rats fed fat-rich diets in pregnancy

James Armitage, Lorin Lakasing, Paul David Taylor, Aswini A Balachandran, Runa I Jensen, Vasia Dekou, Nick Ashton, Jens R Nyengaard, Lucilla Poston

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Evidence from human and animal studies suggests that maternal nutrition can induce developmental programming of adult hypertension in offspring. We have previously described a model of maternal dietary imbalance in Sprague-Dawley rats whereby administration of a maternal diet rich in animal lard programmes the development of increased blood pressure, insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, obesity and mesenteric artery endothelial dysfunction in adult offspring. To further characterize the mechanism of hypertension in this model we have examined vascular and renal structure in adult offspring of Sprague-Dawley rats fed a control diet (OC) or lard-rich diet (OHF) during pregnancy and suckling followed by a control diet post-weaning. To gain further insight, we assessed aortic reactivity and elasticity in an organ bath preparation and renal renin and Na+,K+-ATPase activity. Plasma aldosterone concentration was also measured. Stereological examination of the aorta in OHF demonstrated reduced endothelial cell volume and smooth muscle cell number compared with OC. Adult OHF animals showed increased aortic stiffness and reduced endothelium-dependent relaxation. Renal stereology showed no differences in kidney weight, glomerular number or volume in OHF compared with OC, but renin and Na+,K+-ATPase activity were significantly reduced in OHF compared with controls. Programmed alterations to aortic structure and function are consistent with previous observations that exposure to maternal high fat diets produces systemic vascular changes in the offspring. Despite normal renal stereology, altered renal Na+,K+-ATPase and renin activity offers further insight into the mechanism underlying the increased blood pressure characteristic of this model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171 - 184
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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