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Hypertens Res. 2019 Jun;42(6):863-875. doi: 10.1038/s41440-018-0181-7. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Prenatal hypoxia affected endothelium-dependent vasodilation in mesenteric arteries of aged offspring via increased oxidative stress.

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Institute of Fetology, First Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
The Affiliated Wuxi Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi, China.
Institute of Fetology, First Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
Institute of Fetology, First Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China.
Center for Perinatal Biology, Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, 92350, USA.


Prenatal hypoxia can affect vascular functions in young offspring. However, there is limited knowledge regarding whether and how prenatal hypoxia influences vascular functions in aged offspring. This study compared the effects of prenatal hypoxia on the mesenteric arteries (MA) between a young adult and aged offspring and investigated the underlying mechanisms. Pregnant rats were randomly divided into the control and prenatal hypoxia groups. The vascular functions and molecular levels were assessed in 5-month-old (5 M) or 20-month-old (20 M) offspring. Prenatal hypoxia decreased acetylcholine-mediated vascular relaxations in 20-M but not 5-M offspring. Sodium nitroprusside-mediated relaxation curves were not altered by prenatal hypoxia in 5- and 20-M offspring. Prenatal hypoxia enhanced the contractile responses caused by phenylephrine, phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate, and 5-hydroxytryptamine only in 5-M offspring. The endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activities were decreased along with downregulated eNOS mRNA expression and phosphorylated eNOS/total eNOS protein expression in 20-M offspring with prenatal hypoxia. The NADPH oxidase (NOX) inhibitor apocynin and superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic tempol restored the acetylcholine-mediated weaker relaxations in 20-M offspring with prenatal hypoxia. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent and dihydroethidium assay showed that prenatal hypoxia enhanced oxidative stress in 20-M offspring. Transmission electron microscopy showed that prenatal hypoxia damaged mitochondrial structures in the MA endothelial cells of 20-M offspring. Increased NOX2 protein expression and decreased SOD3 expression were found in 20-M offspring. The results demonstrated that endothelial dysfunction induced by intrauterine hypoxia occurred with aging via enhanced oxidative stress and decreased nitric oxide activities in aged offspring.


aging; mesenteric artery; oxidative stress; prenatal hypoxia; vasodilation


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