Khan, I. Y., Dekou, V., Douglas, G., Jensen, R., Hanson, M. A., Poston, L. and Taylor, P. D.
A high-fat diet during rat pregnancy or suckling induces cardiovascular dysfunction in adult offspring
American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 288, (1), . (doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00354.2004).
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Epidemiological and animal studies suggest that diet-induced epigenetic modifications in early life can contribute to development of the metabolic syndrome in adulthood. We previously reported features of the metabolic syndrome in adult offspring of rats fed a diet rich in animal fat during pregnancy and suckling. We now report a study to compare the relative effects of high-fat feeding during 1) pregnancy and 2) the suckling period in the development of these disorders. As observed previously, 6-mo-old female offspring of fat-fed dams suckled by the same fat-fed dams (OHF) demonstrated raised blood pressure, despite being fed a balanced diet from weaning. Female offspring of fat-fed dams "cross fostered" to dams consuming a control diet during suckling (OHF/C) demonstrated raised blood pressure compared with controls (OC) [systolic blood pressure (SBP; mmHg) means ± SE: OHF/C, 132.5 ± 3.0, n = 6 vs. OC, 119.0 ± 3.8, n = 7, P < 0.05]. Female offspring of controls cross fostered to dams consuming the fat diet (OC/HF) were also hypertensive [SBP (mmHg) 131.0 ± 2.5 mmHg, n = 6 vs. OC, P < 0.05]. Endothelium-dependent relaxation (EDR) of male and female OHF and OHF/C mesenteric small arteries was similar and blunted compared with OC (P < 0.001). OC/HF arteries showed profoundly impaired EDR (OC/HF vs. OHF, P < 0.001). OHF/C and OC/HF demonstrated hyperinsulinemia and increased adiposity. Features of the metabolic syndrome in adult offspring of fat-fed rats can be acquired both antenatally and during suckling. However, exposure during pregnancy confers adaptive protection against endothelial dysfunction induced by maternal fat feeding during suckling.
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