Uteroplacental insufficiency temporally exacerbates salt-induced hypertension associated with a reduced natriuretic response in male rat offspring

Linda A. Gallo, Sarah L. Walton, Marc Q. Mazzuca, Marianne Tare, Helena C. Parkington, Mary E. Wlodek, Karen M. Moritz

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Key points: Low weight at birth increases the risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood A diet that is high in salt is known to elevate blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney diseases The present study demonstrates that growth restricted male rats have a heightened sensitivity to high dietary salt, in the context of raised systolic blood pressure, reduced urinary sodium excretion and stiffer mesenteric resistance vessels Other salt-induced effects, such as kidney hyperfiltration, albuminuria and glomerular damage, were not exacerbated by being born small The present study demonstrates that male offspring born small have an increased cardiovascular susceptibility to high dietary salt, such that that minimizing salt intake is probably of particular benefit to this at-risk population Intrauterine growth restriction increases the risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood. Lifestyle factors, such as poor dietary choices, may elevate this risk. We determined whether being born small increases the sensitivity to a dietary salt challenge, in the context of hypertension, kidney disease and arterial stiffness. Bilateral uterine vessel ligation or sham surgery (offspring termed Restricted and Control, respectively) was performed on 18-day pregnant Wistar Kyoto rats. Male offspring were allocated to receive a diet high in salt (8% sodium chloride) or remain on standard rat chow (0.52% sodium chloride) from 20 to 26 weeks of age for 6 weeks. Systolic blood pressure (tail-cuff), renal function (24 h urine excretions) and vascular stiffness (pressure myography) were assessed. Restricted males were born 15% lighter than Controls and remained smaller throughout the study. Salt-induced hypertension was exacerbated in Restricted offspring, reaching a peak systolic pressure of ∼175 mmHg earlier than normal weight counterparts. The natriuretic response to high dietary salt in Restricted animals was less than in Controls and may explain the early rise in arterial pressure. Growth restricted males allocated to a high salt diet also had increased passive arterial stiffness of mesenteric resistance arteries. Other aspects of renal function, including salt-induced hyperfiltration, albuminuria and glomerular damage, were not exacerbated by uteroplacental insufficiency. The present study demonstrates that male offspring exposed to uteroplacental insufficiency and born small have an increased sensitivity to salt-induced hypertension and arterial remodelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5859-5872
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Blood pressure
  • Developmental programming
  • Growth restriction

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