HPA and sympathoadrenal activity of adult rats perinatally exposed to maternal mild calorie restriction Academic Article uri icon


  • Developmental programming of neuroendocrine systems is profoundly influenced by environmental cues such as caloric availability. The focus of investigations in this area has been on the effects of under- and malnutrition while there is a paucity of research examining the effects of more mild levels of calorie restriction (CR). Rat dams and their offspring were subjected to one of five dietary regimens: control, CR50% for 3 days preconception, CR25% during gestation, CR25% during lactation, and CR25% during gestation, lactation, and post-weaning (lifelong). Adult male offspring were decapitated and trunk blood collected to assay for basal concentrations of serum adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT), as well as plasma concentrations of adrenalin (A) and noradrenalin (NA). Basal serum ACTH was reduced by 35-43% in all dietary regimens except the lifelong group. Although a similar trend was observed in the concentrations of serum CORT, only the decrease in the lactation group attained statistical significance. A was reduced by 33-49% as a result of all dietary regimens and NA was reduced in the gestation and lifelong groups by 51% and 39%, respectively. The potential mechanisms underlying these neuroendocrine alterations are discussed.

publication date

  • March 2010