Protein restriction in pregnancy produces maternal and offspring metabolic dysfunction potentially as a result of oxidative stress. Data are lacking on the effects of inhibition of oxidative stress. We hypothesized that maternal resveratrol administration decreases oxidative stress, preventing, at least partially, maternal low protein-induced maternal and offspring metabolic dysfunction. In the present study, pregnant wistar rats ate control (C) (20% casein) or a protein-restricted (R) (10% casein) isocaloric diet. Half of each group received resveratrol orally, 20 mg kg-1 day-1, throughout pregnancy. Post-delivery, mothers and offspring ate C. Oxidative stress biomarkers and anti-oxidant enzymes were measured in placenta, maternal and fetal liver, and maternal serum corticosterone at 19 days of gestation (dG). Maternal (19 dG) and offspring (postnatal day 110) glucose, insulin, triglycerides, cholesterol, fat and leptin were determined. R mothers showed metabolic dysfunction, increased corticosterone and oxidative stress and reduced anti-oxidant enzyme activity vs. C. R placental and fetal liver oxidative stress biomarkers and anti-oxidant enzyme activity increased. R offspring showed higher male and female leptin, insulin and corticosterone, male triglycerides and female fat than C. Resveratrol decreased maternal leptin and improved maternal, fetal and placental oxidative stress markers. R induced offspring insulin and leptin increases were prevented and other R changes were offspring sex-dependent. Resveratrol partially prevents low protein diet-induced maternal, placental and sex-specific offspring oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction. Oxidative stress is one mechanism programming offspring metabolic outcomes. These studies provide mechanistic evidence to guide human pregnancy interventions when fetal nutrition is impaired by poor maternal nutrition or placental function.
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