Effect of Normal Pregnancy Followed by Lactation on Long-Term Maternal Health in a Mouse Model

Egle Bytautiene Prewit, Talar Kechichian, Deborah Okunade, Huaizhi Yin, Alison M. Stuebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although it has been widely accepted that pregnancies with complications are associated with increased maternal cardiovascular risk later in life, there is no consensus if noncomplicated pregnancy followed by lactation plays a protective role or is a risk factor. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of normal pregnancy and lactation on long-term maternal health in a mouse model. CD-1 mice were allocated to breeding (primigravid [PG]) and nonbreeding (nulligravid [NG]) groups. The PG group proceeded through normal pregnancy and delivery. Using a telemetry system, blood pressure (BP) was analyzed in the PG group at 6 months postpartum and in age-matched NG mice. Serum analytes, gene expressions, and protein levels were determined using appropriate analysis methods. Primigravid mice had significantly lower systolic and diastolic BP and fasting glucose levels. Circulating oxytocin (OXT) levels were significantly higher in PG mice. Oxt gene expression was significantly higher in the heart and aorta and lower in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) from PG mice. The oxytocin receptor (Oxtr) gene expression was significantly higher in the heart, aorta, and VAT from PG animals. The level of Oxtr DNA hypermethylation and the expression of mmu-miR-29a were significantly lower in the hearts of PG mice. In PG VAT, glucose transporter-4 expression was significantly higher. Our study demonstrates that a history of normal pregnancy followed by lactation was associated with lower maternal cardiovascular risk factors later in life in female mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1196
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • cardiovascular
  • maternal
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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