Iron restriction during pregnancy can lead to iron deficiency and changes in the dopaminergic system in the adulthood of offspring, and restless legs syndrome (RLS) is closely related to these changes.
Analyze whether iron restriction during pregnancy would cause changes in the behavior, sleep, and dopaminergic system of the male offspring.
In addition, we aimed to assess whether exercise would be able to modulate these variables. The pregnant rats (Wistar) were divided into four groups with different concentrations of iron in the diet: standard (St), supplementation (Su), restriction since weaning (R1), and restriction only during pregnancy (R2).
After birth, the offspring were assigned to their respective groups according to the dams diet (St, Su, R1, and R2) and distributed into sedentary (SD) and exercised (EX) (for 8 weeks of training), reaching eight groups of offspring (O): OSt SD, OSt EX, OSu SD, OSu EX, OR1 SD, OR1 EX, OR2 SD, and OR2 EX.
Sleep, behavior, and analysis of key genes of dopaminergic system (D2, DAT) were performed after 8 weeks.
The results for trained offspring that the mother received supplementation diet were the most expressive, with increased freezing and the OR1 SD group showed an increase in DAT protein content.
These changes may have been due to the association between the dams diet during pregnancy and the practice of exercise by the offspring.
The different concentrations of iron during pregnancy caused changes in the offspring, however, they were not associated with fetal programming in the context of RLS.