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Obstetrics - Physiology

Increased Cardiovascular Reactivity to Acute Stress and Salt-Loading in Adult Male Offspring of Fat Fed Non-Obese Rats
Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Author: Olena Rudyk et al.

by Olena Rudyk, Péter Makra, Eugene Jansen, Michael J. Shattock, Lucilla Poston, Paul D. Taylor

Diet-induced obesity in rat pregnancy has been shown previously to be associated with consistently raised blood pressure in the offspring, attributed to sympathetic over-activation, but the relative contributions to this phenotype of maternal obesity versus raised dietary fat is unknown. Sprague-Dawley female rats were fed either a control (4.3% fat, n?=?11) or lard-enriched (23.6% fat, n?=?16) chow 10 days prior to mating, throughout pregnancy and lactation. In conscious adult (9-month-old) offspring cardiovascular parameters were measured (radiotelemetry). The short period of fat-feeding did not increase maternal weight versus controls and the baseline blood pressure was similar in offspring of fat fed dams (OF) and controls (OC). However, adult male OF showed heightened cardiovascular reactivity to acute restraint stress (p<0.01; ? systolic blood pressure (SBP) and ?heart rate (HR)) with a prolonged recovery time compared to male OC. a1/ß-adrenergic receptor blockade normalised the response. Also, after dietary salt-loading (8%-NaCl ad libitum for 1 week) male OF demonstrated higher SBP (p<0.05) in the awake phase (night-time) and increased low/high frequency ratio of power spectral density of HR variability versus OC. Baroreflex gain and basal power spectral density components of the heart rate or blood pressure were similar in male OF and OC. Minor abnormalities were evident in female OF. Fat feeding in the absence of maternal obesity in pregnant rats leads to altered sympathetic control of cardiovascular function in adult male offspring, and hypertension in response to stressor stimuli.