Gestational Intermittent Hypoxia Impairs AT2R-Mediated Vascular Protection in Female Offspring on a High-Fat, High-Sucrose Diet

Author(s): Ruolin Song, Pankaj Yadav, Jay S. Mishra, Sri Vidya Dangudubiyyam, Sathish Kumar

Background: Gestational intermittent hypoxia (GIH), a hallmark of maternal obstructive sleep apnea, sex-differentially causes hypertension and endothelial dysfunction in adult male offspring but not in females. This study investigated whether the GIH-exposed female offspring, a "protected" group against the hypertensive effects of maternal GIH exposure, exhibit increased susceptibility to hypertension and cardiovascular dysfunction when fed a high-fat high-sucrose (HFHS) diet and whether this effect could be reversed by pharmacological intervention activating the angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R).

Methods: Female offspring of control and GIH-exposed (10.5% O2, 8 h/d, E10-21) dams were assigned either an HFHS diet or a standard diet from 12 weeks of age. Blood pressure was monitored. At 28 weeks, a systemic CGP42112 (AT2R agonist) or saline infusion was administered through the osmotic pump. At 30 weeks, the heart was weighed and collected for H&E staining, mesenteric arteries for vascular reactivity assessment and protein analysis, and plasma for ELISA.

Results: The HFHS diet induced similar increases in body weight gain and blood pressure in control and GIH female offspring. HFHS feeding did not affect heart structure, but impaired endothelial-dependent vascular relaxation with associated decreased AT2R and eNOS expression and reduced plasma bradykinin levels in both control and GIH offspring. CGP42112 administration effectively mitigated HFHS-induced hypertension and endothelial dysfunction only in control offspring, accompanied by restored AT2R, eNOS, and bradykinin levels, but not in the GIH counterparts.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that GIH induces endothelial dysfunction and AT2R insensitivity in female offspring exposed to an HFHS diet.

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