Khan, Omar A., Torrens, Christopher, Noakes, David E., Poston, Lucilla, Hanson, Mark A., Green, Lucy R. and Ohri, Sunil K.
Effects of pre-natal and early post-natal undernutrition on adult internal thoracic artery function
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 28, (6), . (doi:10.1016/j.ejcts.2005.08.021).
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Objective: Previous studies in humans and animals have suggested that undernutrition in utero and in early post-natal life may lead to altered vascular function in a number of peripheral arteries. We investigated the effect of pre- and post-natal nutrient restriction on the vascular reactivity of the left internal thoracic artery using a sheep model.
Methods: Welsh mountain ewes were mated and assigned to three dietary groups: (1) 100% of total nutritional requirements (control, n = 6); (2) 50% of total nutritional requirements during the first 31 days of gestation (n = 6); and (3) 50% nutritional restriction during the first 31 days of gestation, followed by a restriction in the diet of their offspring 12–25 weeks post-natally, designed to produce a 15% reduction in growth trajectory (n = 7). The male offspring were sacrificed at 130 weeks; the left internal thoracic artery was mounted onto a wire myograph and the reactivity of the vessel to various agonists measured.
Results: The offspring of animals who underwent an early gestation nutrient restriction had a significantly increased basal tone (0.41 ± 0.25 vs 6.34 ± 1.35, p = 0.015) and sensitivity to phenylephrine (log EC50: ?6.23 ± 0.04 M vs ?5.74 ± 0.17 M, p = 0.036) as compared with control animals. However, this phenomenon was not seen in animals that underwent both pre- and post-natal nutrient restriction.
Conclusions: Pre-natal undernutrition increases the basal tone and sensitivity of the left internal thoracic artery to phenylephrine. This effect is significantly attenuated by continued undernutrition in early post-natal life. These experiments suggest that in utero and early post-natal undernutrition may be important determinants of graft function in later life.
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