Maternal low protein diet programs offspring to develop hypertension as adults. Transient exposure to angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers can result in improvement in hypertension. Male rats whose mothers received a low protein diet during the last half of pregnancy were given either vehicle, continuous enalapril (CE) in their drinking water or were given transient enalapril exposure (TE) after weaning at 21 days of age. The TE group had enalapril in their drinking water for 21 days starting from day 21 of life. All rats were studied at 6 months of age. Vehicle treated rats whose mothers were fed a low protein diet were hypertensive, had albuminuria, and demonstrated upregulation of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system as evidenced by higher urinary angiotensinogen and urinary angiotensin II levels. In low protein rats both continuous and transient exposure to enalapril normalized blood pressure, urinary angiotensinogen and urinary angiotensin II levels at 6 months of age, but only continuous administration of enalapril decreased urinary albumin excretion. These data support the importance of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system in mediating hypertension in programmed rats and transient exposure to enalapril can repro-gram the hypertension and dysregulation of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system.
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