Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Physiology and Pharmacology

Supervisor

Dr Timothy Regnault

2nd Supervisor

Dr Ting Lee

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Low birth weight (LBW), and maternal Western Diet (WD) consumption have both been independently implicated to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in later life. These fetal programmed risks are also believed to exacerbate the effects of a postnatal WD pattern. Therefore, resulting in the development of pre-clinical markers of CVDs, such as insulin resistance (IR), coronary circulation disruptions. This thesis aimed to elucidate the roles of sub-optimal in utero growth through placental insufficiency, or chronic maternal WD consumption, and postnatal WD consumption on the long-term programming of CVDs in a guinea pig model. Early pre-clinical markers of CVD development including reduced coronary flow, left ventricular hypertrophy, and fibrosis were observed in the young LBW offspring. Postnatal consumption of WD was itself strongly associated with the early development of cardiac IR. Collectively these findings suggests that prenatal insults combined with a postnatal dietary insult, can lead to an increased risk of developing CVDs.