The effects of neonatal caffeine therapy in adults born preterm are uncertain. We studied the impact of neonatal caffeine on systemic blood pressure, vessel reactivity, and response to stress in adult mice.
Mice pups were randomized to caffeine (20 mg/kg/d) or saline by intraperitoneal injection for 10 days after birth. We performed tail-cuff BP (8/12 weeks), urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine and fecal corticosterone (14 weeks), and vessel reactivity in aortic rings (16 weeks) in adult mice.
No differences were noted in systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressures between the two groups at 8 and 12 weeks of age. However, norepinephrine-induced vasoconstriction was substantially higher in aortic rings in CAF-treated male mice. More significant vasodilator responses to nitric oxide donors in aortic rings in female mice may suggest gender-specific effects of caffeine. Female mice exposed to caffeine had significantly lower body weight over-time. Caffeine-treated male mice had substantially higher fecal corticosterone and urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine at 14 weeks, suggestive of chronic stress.
We conclude sex-specific vulnerability to the heightened vascular tone of the aorta in male mice following neonatal caffeine therapy. Altered vessel reactivity and chronic stress in the presence of other risk factors may predispose to the development of systemic hypertension in adults born preterm.
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