Via developmental programming, prenatal perturbations, such as exposure to glucocorticoids and maternal malnutrition alter kidney development and contribute to the development of hypertension. To examine the possibility that alterations in tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) contribute to the development of hypertension in offspring following maternal dexamethasone treatment (Dex) in early gestation, studies were conducted in fetal sheep and lambs. Pregnant ewes were infused with dexamethasone (0.48 mg/h) at 26-28 days gestation. No differences were observed in mean arterial pressure, glomerular filtration rate. or electrolyte excretion rates between the Dex and Untreated fetuses or lambs. Gestational exposure to Dex markedly enhanced TGF sensitivity, as the turning point in Dex-treated fetuses was significantly lower (12.9 + 0.9 nl/min; P < 0.05) compared with Untreated fetuses (17.0 + 1.0 nl/min). This resetting of TGF sensitivity persisted after birth (P < 0.01). TGF reactivity did not differ between the groups in fetuses or lambs. In response to nitric oxide inhibition, TGF sensitivity increased (the turning point decreased) and reactivity increased in Untreated fetuses and lambs, but these effects were blunted in the Dex-treated fetuses and lambs. Our data suggest that an altered TGF response may be an underlying renal mechanism contributing to the development of hypertension in the Dex model of fetal programming. The lower tonic level of NO production in these dexamethasone-exposed offspring may contribute to the development of hypertension as adults.
- tubuloglomerular feedback
- fetal programming