The ability of the aorta to buffer blood flow and provide diastolic perfusion (Windkessel function) is a determinant of cardiovascular health. We have reported cardiac dysfunction indicating downstream vascular abnormalities in young adult baboons who were intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) at birth as a result of moderate maternal nutrient reduction. Using 3 T MRI, we examined IUGR offspring (eight male, eight female; 5.7 years; human equivalent 25 years) and age-matched controls (eight male, eight female; 5.6 years) to quantify distal descending aortic cross-section (AC) and distensibility (AD). ANOVA showed decreased IUGR AC/body surface area (0.9±0.05 cm2/m2 v. 1.2±0.06 cm2/m2, M±s.e.m., P<0.005) and AD (1.7±0.2 v. 4.0±0.5×10-3/mmHg, P<0.005) without sex difference or group-sex interaction, suggesting intrinsic vascular pathology and impaired development persisting in adulthood. Future studies should evaluate potential consequences of these changes on coronary perfusion, afterload and blood pressure.
Keywords: aorta; baboons; developmental programing; intrauterine growth restriction; maternal nutrient restriction.