Extracellular dehydration during pregnancy increases salt appetite of offspring

Am J Physiol. 1990 Jan;258(1 Pt 2):R281-3. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1990.258.1.R281.


The propensity to prefer and to consume salty foods varies considerably from person to person, and excessive salt intake has been linked to a number of pathological conditions. Extracellular dehydration occurs in humans after vomiting or diarrhea and is commonly observed during pregnancy. Because the hormonal responses to extracellular dehydration are known to increase salt appetite, we tested the hypothesis that extracellular dehydration during pregnancy increases the propensity of offspring to consume salt. Pregnant rats were treated with polyethylene glycol, which is known to produce extracellular dehydration and to exaggerate sodium appetite. The offspring of these treated pregnant rats showed an increase in salt appetite as compared with the offspring of control untreated dams. These results demonstrate that extracellular dehydration during pregnancy can enhance the natriophilic propensity in offspring and suggest that gravidic vomiting may contribute to the epidemiological factors of hypertension and other pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Drinking
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sodium Chloride*


  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Sodium Chloride