Myogenic reactivity is enhanced in rat radial uterine arteries in a model of maternal undernutrition

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Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this study was to determine if maternal undernutrition during pregnancy altered myogenic tone in small radial uterine arteries.

Study design

Myogenic tone of radial uterine arteries was studied from late pregnant rats (day 20) that were fed either ad libitum or globally restricted diet (moderately severe dietary restriction) throughout pregnancy.

Results

Myogenic tone was enhanced in the radial uterine arteries from the diet-restricted compared with the ad libitum group. Nitric oxide synthase inhibition enhanced myogenic tone in the arteries from the ad libitum group only. Prostaglandin H synthase inhibition had no effect on myogenic tone in either group.

Conclusion

Diet restriction during pregnancy enhances myogenic tone in the radial uterine arteries partly as a result of impairment of the nitric oxide synthase pathway. Enhanced myogenic tone in turn may reduce uteroplacental blood flow and, thus, contribute to reduced birth weight, and lead to effects of fetal programming in utero that can have long-term consequences into adulthood.

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