Author(s): RoyClavel E, Picard S, StLouis J, Brochu M
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: A low-sodium diet fed to female rats before mating through parturition leads to pups of lower weight. We characterized the effect of low dietary sodium during the last week of gestation (after fetal organogenesis) on fetal and maternal homeostasis. STUDY DESIGN: Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to a control group or to a group fed a low-sodium diet from gestational days 15 through 22. Systolic blood pressures were measured throughout pregnancy. On day 22 plasma volume was measured and blood samples were taken for electrolyte and hormonal measurements. Fetal and placental weights were also determined. RESULTS: Plasma renin activity and aldosterone level were significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group. Plasma volume was significantly lower in pregnant rats receiving a low-sodium than in those receiving a control diet. Rats receiving a low-sodium diet had pups of lower weight and length (4.45 +/- 0.22 g, 3.90 +/- 0.06 cm) than pups of the control group (5.21 +/- 0.12 g, 4.10 +/- 0.02 cm). Pups born to mothers with low-sodium diets recuperated from intrauterine growth restriction by 14 days after birth. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that a low-sodium diet given to pregnant rats for the last 7 days of gestation leads to reduced plasma volume expansion and fetal growth restriction. This could prove to be a simple animal model for studying the relationship between maternal plasma volume and fetal growth.
This article was published in Am J Obstet Gynecol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology