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Methamphetamine use during pregnancy can have negative consequences on the offspring. However, most studies investigating the impact of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine have focused on behavioral and neurological outcomes. Relatively little is known regarding the impact of prenatal methamphetamine on the adult cardiovascular system. This study investigated the impact of chronic fetal exposure to methamphetamine on vascular function in adult offspring. Pregnant female rats received daily saline or methamphetamine (5 mg/kg) injections starting on gestational day 1 and continuing until the pups were born. Vascular function was assessed in 5 month old offspring. Prenatal methamphetamine significantly decreased both the efficacy and potency of acetylcholine-induced relaxation in isolated male (but not female) aortas when perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) remained intact. However, prenatal methamphetamine had no impact on acetylcholine-induced relaxation when PVAT was removed. Nitroprusside-induced relaxation of the aorta was unaffected by prenatal methamphetamine. Angiotensin II-induced contractile responses were significantly potentiated in male (but not female) aortas regardless of the presence of PVAT. This effect was reversed by L-nitro arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). Serotonin- and phenylephrine-induced contraction were unaffected by prenatal methamphetamine. Prenatal methamphetamine had no impact on acetylcholine-induced relaxation of third order mesenteric arteries and no effect on basal blood pressure. These data provide evidence that prenatal exposure to methamphetamine sex-dependently alters vasomotor function in the vasculature and may increase the risk of developing vascular disorders later in adult life.


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