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(1/59) Tetrahydrobiopterin improves endothelial dysfunction and vascular oxidative stress in microvessels of intrauterine undernourished rats.

In the present study, we investigated the effects of the exogenous application of tetrahydrobiopterin on the endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and superoxide anion generation in the mesenteric microvessels of intrauterine undernourished rats. In addition, we investigated the presence of peroxynitrite in these rats by evaluation of nitrotyrosine-containing proteins, a stable end-product of peroxynitrite oxidation. For this, female pregnant Wistar rats were fed either normal or 50% of the normal intake diets during the whole gestational period. Male offspring (16 weeks of age) were studied to assess microvascular reactivity, superoxide production using a hydroethidine staining assay, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and nitric oxide (NO) production. Western blot analysis was used to quantify nitrotyrosine-containing proteins and relative multiplex RT-PCR analysis for endothelial NOS (eNOS) mRNA expression. Superfusion with tetrahydrobiopterin significantly decreased superoxide generation and improved vascular function. Intrauterine malnutrition induced a decrement of NOS activity and NO production without affecting the gene expression of eNOS. However, incubation with tetrahydrobiopterin significantly improved NO production after stimulation with acetylcholine or bradykinin in intrauterine undernourished rats. The fact that the nitrotyrosine-containing proteins were increased could, at first sight, suggest that the peroxynitrite is the mediator responsible for the excessive oxidation and depletion of tetrahydrobiopterin. Our study shows that exogenous application of tetrahydrobiopterin leads to a significant improvement of endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, enhanced NO production and decreased superoxide generation in microvessels of intrauterine undernourished rats. Since we found a decrease in NOS activity without an alteration in the gene expression of eNOS, we suggest that impaired NOS-dependent responses of mesenteric arterioles are related to the impairment of tetrahydrobiopterin pathways.  (+info)

(2/59) Maternal nutrient restriction alters gene expression in the ovine fetal heart.

Adequate maternal nutrient supply is critical for normal fetal organogenesis. We previously demonstrated that a global 50% nutrient restriction during the first half of gestation causes compensatory growth of both the left and right ventricles of the fetal heart by day 78 of gestation. Thus, it was hypothesized that maternal nutrient restriction significantly altered gene expression in the fetal cardiac left ventricle (LV). Pregnant ewes were randomly grouped into control (100% national research council (NRC) requirements) or nutrient-restricted groups (50% NRC requirements) from day 28 to day 78 of gestation, at which time fetal LV were collected. Fetal LV mRNA was used to construct a suppression subtraction cDNA library from which 11 cDNA clones were found by differential dot blot hybridization and virtual Northern analysis to be up-regulated by maternal nutrient restriction: caveolin, stathmin, G-1 cyclin, alpha-actin, titin, cardiac ankyrin repeat protein (CARP), cardiac-specific RNA-helicase activated by MEF2C (CHAMP), endothelial and smooth muscle derived neuropilin (ESDN), prostatic binding protein, NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2, and an unknown protein. Six of these clones (cardiac alpha-actin, cyclin G1, stathmin, NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2, titin and prostatic binding protein) have been linked to cardiac hypertrophy in other species including humans. Of the remaining clones, caveolin, CARP and CHAMP have been shown to inhibit remodelling of hypertrophic tissue. Compensatory growth of fetal LV in response to maternal undernutrition is concluded to be associated with increased transcription of genes related to cardiac hypertrophy, compensatory growth or remodelling. Counter-regulatory gene transcription may be increased, in part, as a response to moderating the degree of cardiac remodelling. The short- and long-term consequences of these changes in fetal heart gene expression and induction of specific homeostatic mechanisms in response to maternal undernutrition remain to be determined.  (+info)

(3/59) Maternal nutrient restriction reduces concentrations of amino acids and polyamines in ovine maternal and fetal plasma and fetal fluids.

Amino acids and polyamines are essential for placental and fetal growth, but little is known about their availability in the conceptus in response to maternal undernutrition. We hypothesized that maternal nutrient restriction reduces concentrations of amino acids and polyamines in the ovine conceptus. This hypothesis was tested in nutrient-restricted ewes between Days 28 and 78 (experiment 1) and between Days 28 and 135 (experiment 2) of gestation. In both experiments, ewes were assigned randomly on Day 28 of gestation to a control group fed 100% of National Research Council (NRC) nutrient requirements and to an nutrient-restricted group fed 50% of NRC requirements. Every 7 days beginning on Day 28 of gestation, ewes were weighed and rations adjusted for changes in body weight. On Day 78 of gestation, blood samples were obtained from the uterine artery and umbilical vein for analysis. In experiment 2, nutrient-restricted ewes on Day 78 of gestation either continued to be fed 50% of NRC requirements or were realimented to 100% of NRC requirements until Day 135. Fetal weight was reduced in nutrient-restricted ewes at both Day 78 (32%) and Day 135 (15%) compared with controls. Nutritional restriction markedly reduced (P < 0.05) concentrations of total alpha-amino acids (particularly serine, arginine-family amino acids, and branched-chain amino acids) and polyamines in maternal and fetal plasma and in fetal allantoic and amniotic fluids at both mid and late gestation. Realimentation of nutrient-restricted ewes increased (P < 0.05) concentrations of total alpha-amino acids and polyamines in all the measured compartments and prevented intrauterine growth retardation. These novel findings demonstrate that 50% global nutrient restriction decreases concentrations of amino acids and polyamines in the ovine conceptus that could adversely impact key fetal functions. The results have important implications for understanding the mechanisms responsible for both intrauterine growth retardation and developmental origins of adult disease.  (+info)

(4/59) Microalbuminuria in adults after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine.

Maternal undernutrition during gestation is associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk factors in the offspring in adult life. The effect of famine exposure during different stages of gestation on adult microalbuminuria (MA) was studied. MA was measured in 724 people, aged 48 to 53, who were born as term singletons in a university hospital in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, around the time of the Dutch famine 1944 to 1945. Twelve percent of people who were exposed to famine in mid gestation had MA (defined as albumin/creatinine ratio >/=2.5) compared with 7% of those who were not prenatally exposed to famine (odds ratio 2.1; 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 4.3). Correcting for BP, diabetes, and other influences that affect MA did not attenuate this association (adjusted odds ratio 3.2; 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 7.7). The effect of famine was independent of size at birth. Midgestation is a period of rapid increase in nephron number, which is critical in determining nephron endowment at birth. Fetal undernutrition may lead to lower nephron endowment with consequent MA in adult life.  (+info)

(5/59) Increased myogenic responses in uterine but not mesenteric arteries from pregnant offspring of diet-restricted rat dams.

Results of epidemiological and animal studies suggest a link between poor in utero growth and cardiovascular disease in adult offspring. Few studies, however, have examined the effects of maternal undernutrition on the vasculature of pregnant female offspring, and to our knowledge, no studies have examined myogenic responses, which are essential to vascular tone development, in these animal models. Thus, myogenic responses were assessed in radial uterine arteries of pregnant female offspring to determine if diet restriction during pregnancy could contribute to transgenerational effects. These results were compared to those in mesenteric arteries, which greatly contribute to peripheral vascular resistance. Myogenic responses in the presence and absence of inhibitors for nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and prostaglandin H synthase (PGHS) were measured in arteries isolated from pregnant, 3-mo-old female offspring of control-fed (C(off)) and globally diet-restricted (DR(off)) rat dams. Although no differences were found in pregnancy weight gain, litter size, or fetal weights, placental size was significantly reduced in DR(off) compared to C(off). Enhanced myogenic reactivity was observed at the highest pressure tested (110 mm Hg) in uterine, but not in mesenteric, arteries from DR(off) compared to C(off). Inhibition of NOS, but not of PGHS, significantly increased myogenic responses in uterine arteries at pressures greater than 80 mm Hg in C(off) but, interestingly, not in DR(off) compared to untreated uterine arteries. Thus, impaired uterine vascular function in diet-restricted pregnant rat dams, which leads to similar impairment in their pregnant offspring, may be a mechanism through which transgenerational effects of unhealthy pregnancies occur.  (+info)

(6/59) Effect of early nutrition on intestine development of intrauterine growth retardation in rats and its correlation to leptin.

AIM: To investigate the intestine and body development of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) rats under early different protein diet and to analyze the correlation between leptin and intestine and body development. METHODS: An IUGR rat model was established by food restriction of pregnant female rats. Fifty-six neonatal IUGR rats and 24 neonatal normal rats were randomly divided into normal control group (C group), IUGR model group (SC group), low protein diet IUGR group (SL group), and high protein diet IUGR group (SH group). Eight rats were killed per group at wk 0, 4, and 12. Serum leptin, body weight (BW), body length (BL), intestinal weight (IW), intestinal length (IL), and intestinal disaccharidase (including lactase, maltase, and saccharase) were detected. RESULTS: BW (4.50+/-0.41 g), BL (5.96+/-0.40 cm), IW (0.05+/-0.01 g), and IL (15.9+/-2.8 cm) in neonatal IUGR rats were much lower than those in C group (6.01+/-0.55 g, 6.26+/-0.44 cm, 0.10+/-0.02 g, 21.8+/-2.7 cm, P<0.05), while intestinal lactase and maltase activities were higher than those in C group. SH group showed the fastest catch up growth and their BW, BL, IW, and IL reached the C group level at wk 4. SC group showed relatively slower catch up growth than SH group, and their BW, BL, IW did not reach the C group level at wk 4. SL group did not show intestine and body catch up growth. Intestinal maltase (344+/-33 micromol/(min.g)) and saccharase activities (138+/-32 micromol/(min.g)) in SL group were both markedly lower than those in C group (751+/-102, 258+/-27 micromol/(min.g), P<0.05). There were no significant differences in lactase activities at wk 4 and disaccharidase activities at wk 12 among all groups (P>0.05). The leptin level in SL group (0.58+/-0.12 ng/mL) was the highest in all groups, and much lower in SH group (0.21+/-0.03 ng/mL) than that in any other IUGR groups at wk 4 (P<0.05). Leptin was negatively related to BW (r = -0.556, P = 0.001), IW (r = -0.692, P = 0.001) and IL (r = -0.738, P = 0.000) at wk 4, while no correlation was found at wk 12. CONCLUSION: High protein diet is a reasonable early nutritional mode to IUGR rats in promoting intestine and body catch up growth.  (+info)

(7/59) Behavioral consequences of developmental iron deficiency in infant rhesus monkeys.

Human studies have shown that iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in infants are associated with behavioral impairment, but the periods of brain development most susceptible to iron deficiency have not been established. In the present study, rhesus monkeys were deprived of iron by dietary iron restriction during prenatal (n=14, 10 microg Fe/g diet) or early postnatal (n=12, 1.5 mg Fe/L formula) brain development and compared to controls (n=12, 100 microg Fe/g diet, 12 mg Fe/L formula) in behavioral evaluations conducted during the first four months of life in the nonhuman primate nursery. Iron deficiency anemia was detected in the pregnant dams in the third trimester and compromised iron status was seen in the prenatally iron-deprived infants at birth, but no iron deficiency was seen in either the prenatally or postnatally iron-deprived infants during the period of behavioral evaluation. Neither prenatal nor postnatal iron deprivation led to significant delays in growth, or gross or fine motor development. Prenatally deprived infants demonstrated a 20% reduced spontaneous activity level, lower inhibitory response to novel environments, and more changes from one behavior to another in weekly observation sessions. Postnatally deprived infants demonstrated poorer performance of an object concept task, and greater emotionality relative to controls. This study indicates that different syndromes of behavioral effects are associated with prenatal and postnatal iron deprivation in rhesus monkey infants and that these effects can occur in the absence of concurrent iron deficiency as reflected in hematological measures.  (+info)

(8/59) The influence of gestational age and birth weight in the clinical assessment of the muscle tone of healthy term and preterm newborns.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of gestational age (GA) and birth weight (BW) in the clinical assessment of the muscle tone of healthy term and preterm newborns. METHOD: Cross sectional study. The muscle tone of healthy 42 preterm and 47 term newborns was quantified and measured with a goniometer (an instrument for measuring angles) respectively between 7th-14th day of life and 24-48 hours of life. Newborns were grouped according to GA and BW and evaluated at fixed time intervals by one examiner. Preterm newborns were matched to term at 40 weeks postconceptional age (PCA). RESULTS: The evolution of muscle tone in the preterm occurred gradually, following PCA, independent of birth weight. Preterm newborns had lower scores in all muscle tone indicators when compared to term at the first assessment. Differences were observed among preterm small for GA and adequate to GA for the indicator heel to ear (p<0.001). When compared at 40 weeks PCA, except for posture, all other indicators were significantly different (p< 0.001) among groups. CONCLUSION: Prematurity and intrauterine malnutrition are influential factors in some indicators of the newborn muscle tone state. Muscle tone assessment of preterm infants does not seem to be influenced by birth weight, however evolution is clearly related to postconceptional age. When we compared term newborns AGA and SGA it seems to have a clear influence of the birth weight on some indicators of the muscle tone. The use of devices such as the goniometer allows the performance of a more objective assessment of muscle tone and helps to quantify findings.  (+info)