Atherosclerosis found early in life suggests that it may arise from fetal adaptations during development in utero. We evaluated the effect of a maternal atherogenic diet on atherosclerosis development in offspring. Aortic fat deposition was evaluated by Sudan IV staining and coronary atherosclerosis was assessed histologically. Sows were fed an atherogenic diet (ath) or standard diet (std) throughout gestation. Twelve neonates (six per maternal diet group) were evaluated with no significant differences noted (P > 0.05) in serum lipids or aortic fat deposition and there was no evidence of coronary atherosclerosis. Twenty offspring (10 per maternal diet group) were followed for 5 months forming the pubertal age group. Half of these swine received an atherogenic (ATH) diet (std-ATH and ath-ATH) and half received a standard (STD) diet (std-STD and ath-STD). Pubertal age swine on the ATH diet had significantly greater (P < 0.05) serum lipids and aortic fat deposition compared with those on the STD diet, with significantly greater fat deposition (P < 0.05) occurring in the std-ATH versus ath-ATH group. Coronary atherosclerosis was exhibited only in the std-ATH diet group. Our findings suggest that gestational diet may alter the body's management of cholesterol later in life, possibly providing a protective effect from atherosclerosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine