Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Oxford (2011) Proc Physiol Soc 23, PC276

Poster Communications

Maternal fructose and/or salt consumption programs cardiovascular hypersensitivity in the offspring

C. Gray1, S. M. Gardiner2, D. S. Gardner1

1. School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, United Kingdom. 2. School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Introduction: Maternal diet through pregnancy impacts on the offspring’s susceptibility to later cardiovascular disease (CVD). A typical modern Western diet is high in fructose and salt and when such a diet is consumed through pregnancy and lactation, in a rat model, the salt-exposed offspring have marked sex-specific differences in mean arterial blood pressure. In this study, we have further assessed the male and female offspring in terms of their cardiovascular responses to further, short-term intake of fructose or salt. Methods: 21 virgin Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 4 dietary groups; 1) control diet (CD, n=6) fed purified chow and tap water, 2) Salt diet (SD, n=5) fed purified chow + 4% NaCl, 3) Fructose diet (FD, n=5) fed purified chow and 10% fructose in tap water and 4) Fructose & Salt diet (FSD, n=5), fed 4% NaCl purified chow with 10% fructose in tap water. Animals were fed the diets ad libitum for 28 days prior to conception, throughout gestation to weaning, whereupon all offspring received standard chow diet until 9 weeks of age when they were implanted with radiotelemetry probes (under fentanyl citrate and medetomidine hydrochloride, 300 μg kg-1 of each i.p) for cardiovascular recording. After 7 days recovery, offspring were exposed to 1) isolation-induced anxiety for 24h (i.e. sibling removed from cage), 2) salt diet (4% NaCl) for 5 days and 3) 10% fructose solution for 5 days with a 7 day wash-out period between challenges. Cardiovascular variables were recorded at scheduled intervals throughout the challenges and data analysed by General Linear Mixed Models (Genstat v13, VSNi, UK). Results: Mean arterial pressure (mm Hg) of offspring was (males: CD, 106; FD, 110; SD, 121; FSD, 110 ±3 [s.e.d]; females: CD, 112; FD, 110; SD, 102; FSD, 109 ±4 [s.e.d]). With anxiety, male but not female salt-exposed offspring had a significantly steeper relationship between paired values for mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate (e.g. calculated slopes were CD, 3.26 (3.02-3.49) vs. SD, 5.36 (5.17-5.55); mean, 95% confidence interval). Postnatal exposure to salt had little effect on offspring cardiovascular variables but exposure to fructose revealed increased sensitivity in prenatal fructose-exposed offspring (see Figure). Conclusions: The data suggest that increased maternal intake of sugar sweetened beverage or of salt has significant effects on the cardiovascular system of the offspring, including altered resting levels of blood pressure but also hypersensitivity to an anxiety-related stimulus (male prenatally salt-exposed offspring only) and, in terms of pressor activity, to further fructose intake. The data therefore lend support to the recent cautionary statements regarding increased fructose and/or salt intake in the Western diet.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements