Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Manchester (2010) Proc Physiol Soc 19, C41

Oral Communications

Changes in maternal dietary fatty acid composition during pregnancy and lactation alter vascular function of adult offspring

C. J. Kelsall1, C. Torrens1, K. A. Lillycrop2, P. C. Calder1, M. A. Hanson1, G. C. Burdge1

1. DOHaD, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom. 2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.


  • Table 1<\#13>

    Systolic and diastolic blood pressure values from male and female offspring (mean &#177; SEM, n). Within a gender, significant differences are indicated by a, b and ab; p &lt;0.05.

Human populations exhibit temporal and cross-sectional variations in fatty acid intake. Variations in dietary saturated (SFA) polyunsaturated (PUFA) and trans fatty acid (TFA) intakes alter cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in adults. It is not known whether differences in fatty acid intakes within the normal range of total fat consumption during pregnancy and lactation alter future cardiovascular function in the offspring. To investigate this, female rats were fed either 7% (w/w) soybean oil (SO, low n-6:n-3 PUFA), hydrogenated soybean oil (HSO, TFA-enriched), butter (SFA-enriched), fish oil (FO, eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid enriched) or safflower oil (SAO, high n-6:n-3 PUFA) from 2 weeks prior to mating until offspring were weaned at d28 onto AIN93M (4% soybean oil). This amount of fat is adequate for pregnancy and lactation in rats. Blood pressure and ex-vivo resistance artery endothelial function were measured in 77 day old offspring, by tail cuff plethysmography and wire myography (relaxation of mesenteric arteries to acetylcholine), respectively. Statistical analysis was performed using a general linear model with Bonferroni post hoc testing; significance was ascribed at p<0.05. Maternal diet significantly altered (P<0.0001) systolic (SP) and diastolic (DP) pressure in the offspring contingent on sex (interaction P < 0.01). In males, SP and DP differed by maternal diet; HSO > SO, butter ≡ FO ≡ SAO. In females, SP and DP were HSO ≡ SO, butter ≡ FO > SAO (Table 1). Maternal diet significantly (P<0.01) altered endothelial-dependent arterial relaxation pEC50 and maximum relaxation contingent on sex (interaction P < 0.01); pEC50 of relaxation to acetylcholine in males was FO (8.1±0.07, n=6) ≡ SAO (8±0.15, n=5), SO (7.9±0.04, n=5), SFA (7.8±0.1, n=6) > HSO (7.5±0.02, n=5). These data show that even at adequate total intakes, differences in the fatty acid composition of the maternal diet induced persistent changes in the vascular function of the offspring. If similar results were found in humans, such findings have important implications for dietary recommendations to pregnant women to reduce their children’s future CVD risk.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements