Increased salt sensitivity in offspring of pregnancies complicated by experimental preeclampsia

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Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in mothers and offspring. Offspring exposed to a suboptimal intrauterine environment may experience altered fetal programming and subsequent long-term cardiovascular changes. This study investigated changes in the vascular response in offspring from experimental preeclampsia (EPE) induced by uterine artery ligation, in the absence of fetal growth restriction, compared to normal baboon pregnancies (controls), following a high salt diet challenge. After 1 week of standard diet (containing <1% salt), animals were fed a high salt diet (6%) for 2 weeks. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP), aldosterone, renin and creatinine clearance were evaluated in EPE (n = 6, 50% male) and control (n = 6, 50% male) offspring. A repeated measures analysis was performed, and P < 0.05 was considered significant. At baseline, there were no differences between the groups in any parameter (EPE, mean age and weight 3.2 ± 1.2 years, 6.8 ± 1.0 kg, respectively; Control, 2.9 ± 0.8 years, 7.1 ± 1.5 kg). After salt loading the EPE group had significantly higher SBP (92 ± 5 mm Hg) compared to the control group (83 ± 4 mm Hg, P = 0.03). Aldosterone concentration was higher in the EPE group despite the same salt excretion and no difference in renal function. Salt sensitivity may differ in offspring from hypertensive pregnancies due to fetal programming. This could have long-term consequences for cardiovascular health of EPE offspring and further research is required to determine the exact pathological mechanisms.

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