Adverse maternal environment in females born small and transgenerational consequences
Professor Mary Wlodek
+61 3 8344 8801
Pregnancy represents the greatest physiological challenge to females with profound metabolic, cardiovascular and renal adaptations. Impairments in these normal adaptive changes lead to pregnancy-related and fetal complications. We have shown for the first time that female rats born small develop altered glucose control but compensatory vascular and renal changes during late pregnancy. We identified that pregnancy is a ‘second-hit’ for females born small unmasking disease which was acknowledged in the 2012 Perspectives article in J Physiol. Our team reported that the slowed fetal growth as a consequence of the adverse pregnancy was exacerbated when mothers born small were exposed to environmental stress during pregnancy. This serendipitous finding has lead to our current clinically relevant research.