Transgenerational effects of prenatal nutrient restriction on cardiovascular and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function

Bertram, Caroline, Khan, Omar, Ohri, Sunil, Phillips, David I., Matthews, Stephen G. and Hanson, Mark A. (2008) Transgenerational effects of prenatal nutrient restriction on cardiovascular and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function. Journal of Physiology, 586, (8), 2217-2229. (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2007.147967).


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The perinatal environment is a powerful determinant of risk for developing disease in later life. Here, we have shown that maternal undernutrition causes dramatic changes in heart structure and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function across two generations. Pregnant guinea pigs were fed 70% of normal intake from gestational days 1-35 (early restriction; ER), or 36-70 (late restriction; LR). Female offspring (F(1)) were mated and fed ad libitum to create second generation (F(2)) offspring. Heart morphology, blood pressure, baroreceptor and HPA function were assessed in male F(1) and F(2) offspring. ER(F1) males exhibited elevated blood pressure, increased left ventricular (LV) wall thickness and LV mass. These LV effects were maintained in the ER(F2) offspring. Maternal undernutrition increased basal cortisol and altered HPA responsiveness to challenge in both generations; effects were greatest in LR groups. In conclusion, moderate maternal undernutrition profoundly modifies heart structure and HPA function in adult male offspring for two generations.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2007.147967
ISSNs: 0022-3751 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: cortisol, guinea pigs, function, blood, later life, food deprivation, cardiovascular, health, blood pressure, heart, risk, origins, mass, physiology, maternal undernutrition, undernutrition, male, pituitary-adrenal system, disease, environment, pregnancy, research, pressure, animals, hypothalamo-hypophyseal system,adult, prenatal exposure delayed effects, blood-pressure, methods, prenatal nutrition physiology, female, caloric restriction, maternal
Subjects: R Medicine
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
ePrint ID: 60915
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:43

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