Bethesda, Md. (July 6, 2011) A new animal study from Europe has drawn an association between pregnant mothers' sodium intake and their newborn's kidney development. Among the most significant aspects of the study's findings is that either too much or too little salt during pregnancy had an adverse effect on the prenatal development of the offspring's kidneys. The consequence of such disruption can lead to high blood pressure in later years.
These are the conclusions reached in the study, "Both High and Low Maternal Salt Intake in Pregnancy Alters Kidney Development in the Offspring," conducted by Nadezda Koleganova, Grzegorz Piecha, Annett Mller, Monika Weckbach, Peter Schirmacher, and Marie-Luise Gross-Weissmann, Eberhard Ritz and Luis Eduardo Becker, all with the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, DE; and Jens Randel Nyengaard of the University of Aarhus, Aarhus, DK. Their study is published in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology--Renal Physiology.
This research builds upon past studies that recognize that excessive salt intake causes secretion of endogenous cardiotonic steroids such as marinobufagenin (MBG). For the pregnant female, this can be harmful since high concentrations of MBG are correlated to low birth-weight and higher blood pressure in the offspring.
Previous research has also linked high blood pressure with a low nephron number, critical because the nephron is the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney. The nephron eliminates wastes from the body, regulates blood volume and blood pressure, controls levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulates blood pH. Its functions are vital to life and are regulated by the endocrine system.
Sprague-Dawley rats were fed low, intermediate or high sodium diets during pregnancy and lactation. The litters were standardized to identical size at birth with 1:1 male to femal
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