Effect of age and gender on the progression of adult vascular dysfunction in a mouse model of fetal programming lacking endothelial nitric oxide synthase

Giuseppe Chiossi, Maged M. Costantine, Esther Tamayo, Phyllis Orise, Gary D.V. Hankins, George R. Saade, Monica Longo

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The objective of this study was to investigate vascular function at different ages in a transgenic murine model of fetal vascular programming using a model of uteroplacental insufficiency induced by lack of endothelial nitric oxide synthase. Homozygous NOS3 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice were cross bred to produce WT, KO, and heterozygous that developed in WT (KOP) or KO (KOM) mothers. Male/female offspring from the four groups were killed at 7, 14, and 21 wk of age (n = 5-10/group), and carotid arteries were used for in vitro vascular studies. Responses to phenylephrine (PE), with/without NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), angiotensin (ANG), acetylcholine (ACh), sodium nitroprusside, and isoproterenol (ISO) were studied. At 7 wk, only KO offspring showed higher contractile response to PE, whereas, at 14 and 21 wk, both KO and KOM had a higher response. Incubation with L-NAME abolished these differences. ANG contraction was higher in male KO in all age groups and in 21-wk-old females. Relaxation to ACh and ISO was absent in KO, and significantly decreased in KOM offspring in all age groups compared with KOP and WT, independent of gender. Sodium nitroprusside was not different between groups. The effect of the altered intrauterine environment on the development of abnormal vascular function was limited at 7 wk of age and most evident at 14 wk; further deterioration was limited to ANG-mediated vascular contractility in KO offspring. Our findings provide some hope that at least the first seven postnatal weeks may be an appropriate therapeutic window to prevent cardiovascular disease later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H297-H305
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011



  • Age process
  • Cardiovascular development
  • Fetal programming
  • Kidney development
  • Vascular structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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