Examination of Hypertension Development in Offspring of Maternal SHR Rats with Impaired Aldosterone Secretion during Pregnancy, Using A Remote Monitoring System

Susan Gerbensky, Crystal Taylor


The “fetal origins of adult disease” states that adverse maternal conditions can produce fetal effects, thereby increasing the likelihood of adult disease. Factors such as poor nutrition, reduced uterine or placental blood flow, and increased adrenal hormone levels in the maternal rat can cause them to produce small fetuses; these fetuses are prone to developing hypertension (high blood pressure) later in life. Aldosterone, secreted from the adrenal gland, acts on kidney tubules to increase sodium resorption, thus raising total body sodium, blood volume, and blood pressure. The goal of this project was to determine the effect of reduced aldosterone levels in maternal rats on the blood pressure of their offspring. Surgery was performed on 8 week old female SHR rats, in which the adrenal gland on the right side was removed, and the outer layer of the left adrenal gland was destroyed via liquid nitrogen. A sham surgery was also performed on rats by surgically opening and closing the rats in the same way, but leaving the adrenal glands undisturbed. Ten days post surgery, the females were mated with a male SHR rat; once the pups reached 12 weeks of age, three males were randomly selected from each litter for implantation of a telemetry device that sent blood pressure and heart rate measurements to a receiver attached to a computer. Data gathered was compared between the offspring of adrenal frozen rats and the offspring of sham rats, at low, moderate, and high activity levels. Data was then averaged and compared on a week-to-week basis. The results suggested that normal maternal aldosterone levels are necessary for normal cardiovascular development in offspring.


Hypertension, Aldosterone, Offspring

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