Early life stress sensitizes rats to angiotensin II-induced hypertension and vascular inflammation in adult life

Analia S. Loria, David M. Pollock, Jennifer S. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (SciVal)


Maternal separation during early life is an established chronic behavioral model of early life stress in rats. It is known that perinatal adverse environments increase activity of the renin-angiotensin (Ang) system, specifically Ang II, in adulthood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the effects of early life stress augment the sensitivity of the Ang II pathway. Using Wistar Kyoto rats, the maternal separation (MS) protocol was performed by separating approximately half of the male pups from their mother 3 h/d from days 2 to 14 of life. Pups remaining with the mother at all times were used as controls. Maternal separation did not influence the plasma basal parameters, such as blood glucose, insulin, Ang II, Ang 1-7 and plasma renin activity. Furthermore, body weight, blood pressure, and heart rate were similar in MS and control rats. The acute pressor response to Ang II was not different in anesthetized MS and control rats. However, the chronic infusion of Ang II (65 ng/min SC) elicited an exaggerated hypertensive response in MS compared with control rats (P<0.05). Surprisingly, HR was dramatically increased during the second week of Ang II infusion in MS compared with control rats (P<0.05). This enhanced Ang II sensitivity was accompanied by a greater vascular inflammatory response in MS versus control rats. Chronic Ang II infusion increased vascular wall structure in both groups similarly. These data indicate that early life stress sensitizes rats to an increased hemodynamic and inflammatory response during Ang II-induced hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Adverse environment
  • Ang II-induced hypertension
  • Behavioral stress
  • Maternal separation
  • Vascular inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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