Severe nutritional restriction in pregnant rats aggravates hypertension, altered vascular reactivity, and renal development in spontaneously hypertensive rats offspring

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2002 Mar;39(3):369-77. doi: 10.1097/00005344-200203000-00008.


Epidemiologic studies suggest that intrauterine undernutrition plays an important role in the development of arterial hypertension in adulthood. The aim of the current study was to evaluate whether severe nutritional restriction during pregnancy can aggravate hypertension, vascular reactivity changes, and renal development in spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) offspring. To investigate the potential existence of gender differences, both male and female offspring of pregnant SHRs on a restricted diet were studied in adulthood. Female pregnant SHRs were fed either normal or 50% of the normal intake diets, during the whole gestational period. Arterial blood pressure and nephron number were determined. Norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and sodium nitroprusside responses in isolated aortic rings from the offspring (male and female, when they reached adulthood) were also evaluated. In the SHR offspring (male and female) the intrauterine undernutrition further increased the blood pressure levels, increased the response to norepinephrine, and decreased the response to acetylcholine, without altering the response to sodium nitroprusside. In addition, it induced a decrease in the number of nephrons in the kidney from adult offspring. In conclusion, fetal undernutrition aggravates hypertension and the endothelial dysfunction along with an impairment of renal development in both male and female SHRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Aorta, Thoracic / physiopathology
  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kidney* / embryology
  • Kidney* / growth & development
  • Male
  • Nephrons / embryology
  • Nephrons / growth & development
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Sex Factors
  • Vasodilation
  • Vasomotor System / physiopathology*


  • Blood Glucose