a1 Liggins Institute and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
An adverse prenatal environment may induce long-term metabolic consequences, in particular hypertension and cardiovascular disease. A maternal low-protein (LP) diet is well known to result in increased blood pressure (BP) in offspring. Choline has been shown to have direct BP-reducing effects in humans and animals. It has been suggested that endogenous choline synthesis via phosphatidylcholine is constrained during maternal LP exposure. The present study investigates the effect of choline supplementation to mothers fed a LP diet during pregnancy on systolic BP (SBP) in offspring as measured by tail-cuff plethysmography. Wistar rats were assigned to one of three diets to be fed ad libitum throughout pregnancy: (1) control diet (CONT, 20% protein); (2) an LP diet (9% protein); and (3) LP supplemented with choline (LP + C). Dams were fed the CONT diet throughout lactation and offspring were fed the CONT diet from weaning for the remainder of the trial. At postnatal day 150, SBP and retroperitoneal fat mass was significantly increased in LP offspring compared with CONT animals and was normalized in LP + C offspring. Effects of LP + C reduction in SBP were similar in both males and females. Plasma choline and phosphatidylcholine concentrations were not different across treatment groups, but maternal choline supplementation resulted in a significant reduction in homocysteine concentrations in LP + C offspring compared with LP and CONT animals. The present trial shows for the first time that maternal supplementation with dietary choline during periods of LP exposure can normalize increased SBP and fat mass observed in offspring in later life.
(Received October 05 2011)
(Revised March 19 2012)
(Accepted March 26 2012)
(Online publication April 25 2012)
c1 Address for correspondence: M. H. Vickers, PhD, Liggins Institute and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, University of Auckland, 1142 Auckland, New Zealand. Email email@example.com