1. We studied the effects of maternal diabetes on blood pressure and glucose tolerance in the adult female offspring of spontaneously hypertensive rats.
2. Female spontaneously hypertensive rats were rendered diabetic by neonatal streptozotocin treatment, and then were mated with untreated male spontaneously hypertensive rats. Moderately severe hyperglycaemia was maintained during the gestation.
3. The birth weight was significantly lower in the female offspring of the diabetic dams than in the female offspring of the non-diabetic dams. The systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in the offspring from the diabetic dams than that from the control dams at 6 months of age (192 ± 4 mmHg versus 213 ± 4 mmHg, P < 0.01). The heart weight was also significantly increased in the offspring of the diabetic dams. Both the blood pressure and heart weight were inversely related to the birth weight. On the other hand, glucose tolerance was unaffected by maternal diabetes.
4. Maternal diabetes aggravated the severity of hypertension in the adult female offspring of spontaneously hypertensive rats. This suggests the importance of the metabolic environment during fetal growth for the development of hypertension.