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Arch Physiol Biochem. 2003 Feb;111(1):23-35.

Mechanisms underlying the programming of small artery dysfunction: review of the model using low protein diet in pregnancy in the rat.

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Centre for Fetal Origins of Adult Disease, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton, UK.


Human and animal studies have shown that unbalanced maternal nutrition is associated with the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in adulthood. In the Southampton maternal low protein model (SMLP), protein deprivation (50%) throughout pregnancy in rats leads to elevated blood pressure in adult offspring. Impaired peripheral arterial function may contribute to the cardiovascular dysfunction observed in these offspring. This review discusses the impact of such a dietary insult on the vascular function of resistance arteries from pregnant rats (pF(o)), their offspring (F(1)), the pregnant offspring (pF(1)) and the second generation (F(2)). At each stage, disturbances in endothelium-dependent relaxation were observed, implicating changes in endothelial nitric oxide (NO)-guanylate cyclase (GC) signalling pathway in the vascular adaptations to pregnancy and the programmed effects on offspring.

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