Fetal Programming of Hypertension Induced by Moderate Zinc Restriction during Prenatal Life and Lactation: Early Morphological and Functional Alterations in Cardiovascular System in Both Sexes

Sofia Aguirre, Luciana Veiras, Rodrígo Sánchez, Daniela L. Cardelli Alcalde, Rosana Elesgaray, María A. Costa, Cristina T. Arranz, Analía L. Tomat



Several studies suggest that metabolic disorders and nutrition

imbalance during prenatal life may induce adaptations

that program cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. We

have previously shown that moderate zinc restriction during

prenatal life, lactation and/or growth leads to the development

of hypertension and renal dysfunction in adulthood.


To evaluate the presence of early cardiovascular alterations

in rats exposed to a moderate zinc deficient diet during prenatal

life and lactation, and to determine whether there are

differences between males and females.

Material and Methods

Female Wistar rats received low zinc diet or control diet from

the beginning of pregnancy up to weaning. Four experimental

groups were established at birth: males and females born from

low-diet mothers, and males and females born from controldiet

mothers. Male and female offspring were sacrificed at

6 and 21 days of life to evaluate body weight, heart weight,

cardiovascular morphometric parameters and nitric oxide

synthase activity in the cardiovascular system and cardiac

oxidative status.


The insufficient zinc intake during prenatal life and lactation

induced a remodeling process of the cardiomyocyte

which was different in males and females, increased cardiac

oxidative stress, produced a hypotrophic remodeling of the

thoracic aorta and reduced nitric oxide synthase activity in

the cardiovascular system.


This study shows that zinc deficiency induces cardiovascular

abnormalities in early stages of development, which are different

in males and females that may contribute to programming

of diseases in adulthood.

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Revista argentina de cardiología. ISSN en línea 1850-3748. Argentine journal of cardiology (English ed. Online ISSN 2314-2286) Sociedad Argentina de Cardiología. Azcuénaga 980 (C1115AAD),Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, República Argentina. Tel. (54 11) 4961-6027/8/9 Fax: 4961-6020 www.sac.org.ar revista@sac.org.ar