Placental Insufficiency: Programming of Leptin Secretion, Blood Pressure, and Postnatal Growth in Two Generations of Sprague-Dawley Rats

Regulatory process may be altered in response to the intrauterine environment, leading to the development of altered growth trajectory and disease later in life. Previously, our lab reported reduced leptin levels in pregnant hypertensive Sprague-Dawley rat dams with placental insufficiency. The purposes of this study were to investigate the relationship between leptin levels, growth and hypertension in two generations of offspring exposed to placental insufficiency. Leptin levels were significantly different only at 12 weeks in female first generation offspring (p < 0.05). Variations in postnatal body and organ weights were evident in first generation females at 3 and 12 weeks of age. There were no significant correlations with plasma leptin levels and systolic blood pressure in offspring groups at any age point. Our findings indicate that fetal exposure to maternal hypertension and hypoleptinemia is associated with altered leptin and growth patterns in mature female offspring and not perpetuated to a second generation.