Maternal high-fat diet impacts endothelial function in nonhuman primate offspring

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The link between maternal under-nutrition and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the offspring later in life is well recognized, but the impact of maternal over-nutrition on the offspring's cardiovascular function and subsequent risk for CVD later in life remains unclear. Here, we investigated the impact of maternal exposure to a high-fat/calorie diet (HFD) during pregnancy and early postnatal period on endothelial function of the offspring in a nonhuman primate model.

METHODS:

Offspring, naturally born to either a control (CTR) diet (14% fat calories) or a HFD (36% fat calories) consumption dam, were breast-fed until weaning at about 8 months of age. After weaning, the offspring were either maintained on the same diet (CTR/CTR, HFD/HFD), or underwent a diet switch (CTR/HFD, HFD/CTR). Blood samples and arterial tissues were collected at necropsy when the animals were about 13 months of age.

RESULTS:

HFD/HFD juveniles displayed an increased plasma insulin level and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in comparison with CTR/CTR. In abdominal aorta, but not the renal artery, acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation was decreased remarkably for HFD/HFD juveniles compared with CTR/CTR. HFD/HFD animals also showed a thicker intima wall and an abnormal vascular-morphology, concurrent with elevated expression levels of several markers related to vascular inflammation and fibrinolytic function. Diet-switching animals (HFD/CTR and CTR/HFD) displayed modest damage on the abdominal vessel.

CONCLUSION:

Our data indicate that maternal HFD exposure impairs offspring's endothelial function. Both early programming events and postweaning diet contribute to the abnormalities that could be reversed partially by diet intervention.

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