Growth restriction in the rat alters expression of metabolic genes during postnatal cardiac development in a sex-specific manner

Glenn D. Wadley, Glenn K. Mcconell, Craig A. Goodman, Andrew L. Siebel, Kerryn T. Westcott, Mary E Wlodek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the impact of uteroplacental insufficiency and growth restriction on the expression of genes related to mitochondrial biogenesis, glucose transport, and antioxidant defenses in cardiac tissue at embryonic day 20 (E20) and postnatal days 1, 7, and 35 in male and female Wistar rats (8-10 per group). Bilateral uterine vessel ligation to induce growth restriction (Restricted) or sham surgery was performed at pregnancy day 18. In male and female Controls, expression of most cardiac genes decreased during postnatal life, including genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis regulation such as PGC-1a, NRF-2, and mtTFA and the glucose transporter GLUT-1 (P < 0.05). However, the pattern of gene expression during cardiac development differed in male and female Restricted rats compared with their respective Controls. These effects of restriction were observed at postnatal day 1, with female Restricted rats having delayed reductions in PGC-1α and GLUT-1, whereas males had exacerbated reductions in PGC-1a and mtTFA (P < 0.05). By day 35, cardiac gene expression in Restricted hearts was similar to Controls, except for expression of the antioxidant enzyme MnSOD, which was significantly lower in both sexes. In summary, during postnatal life male and female Control rats have similar patterns of expression for genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and glucose transport. However, following uteroplacental insufficiency these gene expression patterns diverge in males and females during early postnatal life, with MnSOD gene expression reduced in later postnatal life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Fetal programming
  • Heart
  • Metabolism

Cite this