Adverse metabolic phenotype of female offspring exposed to preeclampsia in utero: a characterization of the BPH/5 mouse in postnatal life

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Preeclampsia (PE) is a devastating disorder of pregnancy that classically presents with maternal hypertension and proteinuria after 20 wk of gestation. In addition to being a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity/mortality, epidemiological and prospective studies have revealed long-term consequences for both the mother and baby of preeclamptic pregnancies, including chronic hypertension as well as other cardiovascular diseases and metabolic derangements. To better understand the effect of in utero exposure of PE on offspring, we utilized the BPH/5 mouse, a spontaneous model of the maternal and fetal PE syndrome. We hypothesized that young BPH/5 offspring would have altered metabolic and cardiovascular phenotypes. Indeed, BPH/5 growth-restricted offspring showed excess catch-up growth by early adulthood due to hyperphagia and increased white adipose tissue (WAT) accumulation, with inflammation markers isolated to the reproductive WAT depot only. Both excessive WAT accumulation and the inflammatory WAT phenotype were corrected by pair-feeding young BPH/5 female mice. We also found that young BPH/5 female mice showed evidence of leptin resistance. Indeed, chronic hyperleptinemia has been shown to characterize other rodent models of PE; however, the maternal metabolic profile before pregnancy has not been fully understood. Furthermore, we found that these mice show signs of cardiovascular anomalies (hypertension and cardiomegaly) and altered signaling within the reproductive axis in early life. Future studies will involve challenging the physiological metabolic state of BPH/5 mice through pair-feeding to reduce WAT before pregnancy and determining its causal role in adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

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