Mismatched pre- and postnatal nutrition leads to cardiovascular dysfunction and altered renal function in adulthood

Cleal, Jane K., Poore, Kirsten R., Boullin, Julian P., Khan, Omar, Chau, Ryan, Hambidge, Oliver, Torrens, Christopher, Newman, James P., Poston, Lucilla, Noakes, David E., Hanson, Mark A. and Green, Lucy R. (2007) Mismatched pre- and postnatal nutrition leads to cardiovascular dysfunction and altered renal function in adulthood Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, (22), pp. 9529-9533. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0610373104).


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The early life environment has long-term implications for the risk of developing cardiovascular (CV) disease in adulthood. Fetal responses to changes in maternal nutrition may be of immediate benefit to the fetus, but the long-term effects of these adaptations may prove detrimental if nutrition in postnatal life does not match that predicted by the fetus on the basis of its prenatal environment. We tested this predictive adaptive response hypothesis with respect to CV function in sheep. We observed that a mismatch between pre- and postnatal nutrient environments induced an altered CV function in adult male sheep that was not seen when environments were similar. Sheep that received postnatal undernutrition alone had altered growth, CV function, and basal hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis activity in adulthood. Prenatal undernutrition induced greater weight gain by weaning compared with the prenatal control diet, which may provide a reserve in the face of a predicted poor diet in later life. In an adequate postnatal nutrient environment (i.e., relatively mismatched), these offspring exhibited cardiac hypertrophy and altered CV function in adulthood. These data support the concept that adult CV function can be determined by developmental responses to intrauterine nutrition made in expectation of the postnatal nutritional environment, and that if these predictions are not met, the adult may be maladapted and at greater risk of CV disease. Our findings have substantial implications for devising strategies to reduce the impact of a mismatch in nutrition levels in humans undergoing rapid socio-economic transitions in both developing and developed societies.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1073/pnas.0610373104
ISSNs: 0027-8424 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: fetal development, postnatal development, predictive adaptive response

ePrint ID: 45988
Date :
Date Event
4 May 2007Published
Date Deposited: 08 May 2007
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 18:39
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/45988

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