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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2012, Article ID 397389, 10 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Prenatal Protein Restriction on β-Adrenergic Signalling of the Adult Rat Heart during Ischaemia Reperfusion

Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5RD, UK

Received 24 November 2011; Revised 18 January 2012; Accepted 20 January 2012

Academic Editor: Barbara Alexander

Copyright © 2012 Kevin J. P. Ryan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A maternal low-protein diet (MLP) fed during pregnancy leads to hypertension in adult rat offspring. Hypertension is a major risk factor for ischaemic heart disease. This study examined the capacity of hearts from MLP-exposed offspring to recover from myocardial ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) and related this to cardiac expression of β-adrenergic receptors (β-AR) and their associated G proteins. Pregnant rats were fed control (CON) or MLP diets (n=12 each group) throughout pregnancy. When aged 6 months, hearts from offspring underwent Langendorff cannulation to assess contractile function during baseline perfusion, 30 min ischemia and 60 min reperfusion. CON male hearts demonstrated impaired recovery in left ventricular pressure (LVP) and dP/dtmax (P<0.01) during reperfusion when compared to MLP male hearts. Maternal diet had no effect on female hearts to recover from IR. MLP males exhibited greater membrane expression of β2-AR following reperfusion and urinary excretion of noradrenaline and dopamine was lower in MLP and CON female rats versus CON males. In conclusion, the improved cardiac recovery in MLP male offspring following IR was attributed to greater membrane expression of β2-AR and reduced noradrenaline and dopamine levels. In contrast, females exhibiting both decreased membrane expression of β2-AR and catecholamine levels were protected from IR injury.