Pediatric research

Maternal nicotine exposure during gestation and lactation induces kidney injury and fibrosis in rat offspring.

PMID 25279991


Maternal tobacco smoke exposure adversely affected fetal kidney development. Nicotine stimulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression in the renal epithelium. We hypothesized that maternal nicotine exposure would induce kidney fibrosis and involve CTGF in newborn rats. Nicotine was administered to pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats at a dose of 6 mg/kg/d from gestational days 7-21 and gestational day 7 to postnatal day 14. A control group was injected with normal saline. Neonatal kidney tissues underwent histological analysis, collagen measurement, and western blot analysis. Tubular injury scores and total collagen contents were significantly higher in rats born to nicotine-treated dams than in rats born to normal saline-treated dams on postnatal days 7 and 21. Masson's trichrome staining further verified the presence of kidney fibrosis. Prenatal and/or postnatal nicotine exposure increased CTGF expression on postnatal days 7 and 21. Maternal nicotine exposure during gestation and lactation induces neonatal kidney fibrosis, and CTGF may be involved in the pathogenesis of kidney fibrosis. These results may be relevant to premature low-birth-weight infants who are conveyed a high risk of developing chronic kidney disease and exposed to breast milk of smoking mothers during the neonatal period.