Intrauterine growth restriction is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood. We have previously shown that intrauterine growth restriction caused by uteroplacental insufficiency programs uterine vascular dysfunction and increased arterial stiffness in adult female rat offspring. The aim of this study was to investigate vascular adaptations in growth restricted female offspring when they in turn become pregnant. Uteroplacental insufficiency was induced in WKY rats by bilateral uterine vessel ligation (Restricted) or sham surgery (Control) on day 18 of pregnancy. F0 pregnant females delivered naturally at term. F1 Control and Restricted offspring were mated at 4 months of age and studied on day 20 of pregnancy. Age-matched non-pregnant F1 Control and Restricted females were also studied. Wire and pressure myography were used to test endothelial and smooth muscle function, and passive mechanical wall properties, respectively, in uterine, mesenteric, renal and femoral arteries of all four groups. Collagen and elastin fibres were quantified using polarized light microscopy and qRT-PCR. F1 Restricted females were born 10-15 lighter than Controls (P <0.05). Non-pregnant Restricted females had increased uterine and renal artery stiffness compared with Controls (P <0.05), however this difference was abolished at day 20 of pregnancy. Vascular smooth muscle and endothelial function was preserved in all arteries of non-pregnant and pregnant Restricted rats. Collagen and elastin content were unaltered in uterine arteries of Restricted females. Growth restricted females develop compensatory vascular changes during late pregnancy, such that region-specific vascular deficits observed in the non-pregnant state did not persist in late pregnancy.
Mazzuca, M. Q., Tare, M., Parkington, H. C., Dragomir, N. M., Parry, L. J., & Wlodek, M. E. (2012). Uteroplacental insufficiency programmes vascular dysfunction in non-pregnant rats: compensatory adaptations in pregnancy. The Journal of Physiology, 590(14), 3375 - 3388. https://doi.org/10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230011