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Effect of maternal feed restriction on blood pressure in the adult guinea pig

  • Karen L. Kind (a1) (a2), Giuseppe Simonetta (a3), Peter M. Clifton (a2), Jeffrey S. Robinson (a4) and Julie A. Owens (a1)...


Small size at birth has been associated with increased blood pressure in adult men and women. In rats, isocaloric protein restriction reduces fetal growth and increases systolic blood pressure in adult offspring. Balanced maternal undernutrition in the rat also increases adult blood pressure, but not consistently. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of moderate balanced maternal undernutrition (85% of ad libitum intake from 4 weeks before, and throughout pregnancy) on blood pressure of adult offspring in the guinea pig, a species that is relatively mature at birth. Blood pressure was measured in chronically catheterised offspring of ad libitum fed or feed-restricted mothers, at 3 months of age (young adult). Maternal feed restriction reduced birth weight (−17%) and increased systolic blood pressure (+9%, P < 0.03) in young adult male offspring. In offspring of ad libitum fed and feed-restricted mothers, combined data showed that systolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure correlated negatively with head width at birth (P = 0.02 and P = 0.04, respectively, n = 28). Systolic blood pressure also correlated negatively with birth weight and the ratio birth weight/birth length, but only in offspring of ad libitum fed mothers (P = 0.04 and P = 0.03, respectively, n = 22). The effect of maternal feed restriction on systolic blood pressure in male offspring was not significant when adjusted for these measures of size at birth. Thus, moderate balanced undernutrition in the guinea pig increases systolic blood pressure in young adult male offspring; however, these effects may be mediated, at least in part, through effects on fetal growth.


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