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J Physiol. 2009 Jan 15;587(Pt 1):261-70. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.158808. Epub 2008 Nov 10.

Maternal renal dysfunction in sheep is associated with salt insensitivity in female offspring.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


To examine the programming effects of maternal renal dysfunction (created by subtotal nephrectomy in ewes prior to mating; STNx), renal and cardiovascular function were studied in 6-month-old male and female offspring of STNx and control pregnancies. After studies were conducted on a low salt diet (LSD) some female offspring underwent salt loading (0.17 M NaCl in the drinking water for 5-7 days; HSD). On LSD both male and female offspring of STNx had similar mean arterial pressures (MAP), heart rates, cardiac outputs and renal function to those measured in offspring of control ewes. In female STNx offspring on a HSD, plasma sodium levels increased and haematocrits fell, indicating volume expansion (P < 0.05). Plasma renin levels were not suppressed despite the increases in plasma sodium concentrations, but aldosterone levels were reduced. In control animals plasma renin levels fell (P < 0.05) but there was no change in plasma aldosterone concentrations. There was a positive relationship between GFR and MAP which was present only in female STNx offspring. In conclusion, in STNx offspring there was an impaired ability to regulate glomerular filtration independent of arterial pressure, renin release was insensitive to a high salt intake and control of aldosterone secretion was abnormal. This study provides evidence of abnormal programming of the renin-angiotensin system and glomerular function in offspring of pregnancies in which there is impaired maternal renal function.

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