Brawley, L., Torrens, C., Anthony, F.W., Itoh, S., Wheeler, T., Jackson, A.A., Clough, G.F., Poston, L. and Hanson, M.A.
Glycine rectifies vascular dysfunction induced by dietary protein imbalance during pregnancy
Journal of Physiology, 554, (2), . (doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2003.052068).
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Protein restriction in rat pregnancy programmes the development of elevated systolic blood pressure and vascular dysfunction in the offspring.
A recent study has shown that hypertension is reversed by maternal glycine supplementation. Whether this protective effect is exerted directly on the embryo and fetus, or indirectly via effects on the mother, is unknown although we have previously shown abnormalities in the maternal vasculature. We tested the hypothesis that dietary glycine repletion would reverse endothelial dysfunction in protein-restricted pregnant rat dams using wire myography. Impaired acetylcholine- (P < 0.01) and isoprenaline-induced (P < 0.05) vasodilatation in isolated mesenteric arteries (MA) from protein-restricted pregnant dams was accompanied by reduced vascular nitric oxide (NO) release (P < 0.05). Dietary glycine supplementation reversed vascular dysfunction in MA (P < 0.05) and improved NO release thus potentially protecting the maternal circulation. The impaired NO release in the MA of low protein diet dams was not accompanied by reduced eNOS mRNA expression, suggesting that eNOS activity was altered. Protein restriction did not alter the vascular function of a conduit artery, the thoracic aorta.
These results provide evidence that adequate provision of glycine, a conditionally essential amino acid in pregnancy, may play a role in the vascular adaptations to pregnancy, protecting the fetus from abnormal programming of the cardiovascular system.
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