Early Onset Intrauterine Growth Restriction in a Mouse Model of Gestational Hypercholesterolemia and Atherosclerosis

Dolores Busso*, Lilian Mascareño, Francisca Salas, Loni Berkowitz, Nicolás Santander, Alonso Quiroz, Ludwig Amigo, Gloria Valdés, Attilio Rigotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The susceptibility to develop atherosclerosis is increased by intrauterine growth restriction and prenatal exposure to maternal hypercholesterolemia. Here, we studied whether mouse gestational hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis affected fetal development and growth at different stages of gestation. Female LDLR KO mice fed a proatherogenic, high cholesterol (HC) diet for 3 weeks before conception and during pregnancy exhibited a significant increase in non-HDL cholesterol and developed atherosclerosis. At embryonic days 12.5 (E12.5), E15.5, and E18.5, maternal gestational hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis were associated to a 22-24% reduction in male and female fetal weight without alterations in fetal number/litter or morphology nor placental weight or structure. Feeding the HC diet exclusively at the periconceptional period did not alter fetal growth, suggesting that maternal hypercholesterolemia affected fetal weight only after implantation. Vitamin E supplementation (1,000 UI of α-tocopherol/kg) of HC-fed females did not change the mean weight of E18.5 fetuses but reduced the percentage of fetuses exhibiting body weights below the 10th percentile of weight (HC: 90% vs. HC/VitE: 68%). In conclusion, our results showed that maternal gestational hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in mice were associated to early onset fetal growth restriction and that dietary vitamin E supplementation had a beneficial impact on this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number280497
JournalBioMed Research International
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Dolores Busso et al.


  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryonic Development
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Fetus
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Vitamin E


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