Intrauterine growth restriction in rats is associated with hypertension and renal dysfunction in adulthood

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jul;283(1):E124-31. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00004.2001.


Epidemiological studies have produced evidence that unfavorable intrauterine environments during fetal life may lead to adverse outcomes in adulthood. We have previously shown that a low-sodium diet, given to pregnant rats over the last week of gestation, results in intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). We hypothesize that pups born with IUGR are more susceptible to the development of hypertension in adulthood. IUGR fetuses and rats aged 1 wk were characterized for organ growth and renal morphogenesis. The adults (12 wk) were evaluated for weight, systolic blood pressure, activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), and renal function; hearts and kidneys underwent a histological examination. Brain and cardiac ventricle-to-body ratios were increased in IUGR fetuses compared with age-matched controls, whereas the kidney-to-body ratio was unchanged. Systolic blood pressure was elevated in both IUGR male and female adults. Plasma aldosterone levels were not correlated with increased plasma renin activity. Moreover, urinary sodium was decreased, whereas plasma urea was elevated in both males and females, and creatinine levels were augmented only in females, suggesting a glomerular filtration impairment in IUGR. In our model of IUGR induced by a low-sodium diet given to pregnant rats, high blood pressure, alteration of the RAAS, and renal dysfunction are observed in adult life. Differences observed between male and female adults suggest the importance of gender in outcomes in adulthood after IUGR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Angiotensins / blood
  • Animals
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / biosynthesis
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / genetics
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / complications
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Heart Ventricles / cytology
  • Heart Ventricles / metabolism
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Renin / blood
  • Renin-Angiotensin System


  • Angiotensins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor
  • Renin
  • Corticosterone