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Bone, 2015; 74(): 199-207, PMID: 25659207

Pregnant growth restricted female rats have bone gains during late gestation which contributes to second generation adolescent and adult offspring having normal bone health.

Year: 2015

Anevska K, Gallo LA, Tran M, Jefferies AJ, Wark JD, Wlodek ME, Romano T
Department of Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086, Australia.


Low birth weight, due to uteroplacental insufficiency, results in programmed bone deficits in the first generation (F1). These deficits may be passed onto subsequent generations. We characterized the effects of being born small on maternal bone health during pregnancy; and aimed to characterize the contribution of the maternal environment and germ line effects to bone health in F2 offspring from mothers born small. Bilateral uterine vessel ligation (or sham) surgery was performed on female F0 WKY rats on gestational day 18 (term 22days) to induce uteroplacental insufficiency and fetal growth restriction. Control and Restricted F1 female offspring were allocated to a non-pregnant or pregnant group. To generate F2 offspring, F1 females were allocated to either non-embryo or embryo transfer groups. Embryo transfer was performed on gestational day 1, where second generation (F2) embryos were gestated (donor-in-recipient) in either a Control (Control-in-Control, Restricted-in-Control) or Restricted (Control-in-Restricted, Restricted-in-Restricted) mother. Restricted F1 females were born 10-15% lighter than Controls. Restricted non-pregnant females had shorter femurs, reduced trabecular and cortical bone mineral contents, trabecular density and bone geometry measures determined by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) compared to non-pregnant Controls. Pregnancy restored the bone deficits that were present in F1 Restricted females. F2 non-embryo transfer male and female offspring were born of normal weight, while F2 embryo transfer males and females gestated in a Control mother (Control-in-Control, Restricted-in-Control) were heavier at birth compared to offspring gestated in a Restricted mother (Restricted-in-Restricted, Control-in-Restricted). Male F2 Restricted embryo groups (Restricted-in-Control and Restricted-in-Restricted) had accelerated postnatal growth. There was no transmission of bone deficits present at 35days or 6months in F2 offspring. Embryo transfer procedure had confounding effects preventing the separation of maternal environment and germ line contribution to outcomes. Deficits present in F1 non-pregnant Restricted females were absent during late gestation, indicating that pregnant F1 Restricted females experienced gains in bone. These beneficial maternal pregnancy adaptations may have prevented transmission of bone deficits to F2 offspring.

GID: 3856; Last update: 08.04.2015