We investigated changes in salt preference, food and water intake, renin activity and salt excretion in adult offspring from ewes that were fed a high-salt diet (14% NaCl, high-salt offsrping) or grazed saltbush (saltbush offspring) from day 60 of pregnancy until day 21 of lactation. High-salt offspring were compared to offspring born to ewes consuming a control diet (2% NaCl) and saltbush offspring were compared to offspring from ewes which grazed a control diet of dry pasture. All offspring were weaned at 3 months of age and grazed the same clover-based pasture until testing started at 8 months of age. The preference for a low-salt diet (0.5% NaCl) when offered with an alternative (7% NaCl) did not differ between the offspring groups. High-salt offspring and saltbush offspring had a lower food intake (14% and 27% respectively) and lower water intake (35% and 20% respectively) than their control offspring. Both high-salt offspring and saltbush offspring had lower basal renin activity than their respective controls. After consuming salt, the renin activity of the saltbush offspring continued to be lower than controls whereas the renin activity of the high-salt offspring became similar to controls. In general, the saltbush offspring excreted an oral salt load more rapidly, though this depended on the extent of the salt load. This important adaptation of offspring born to ewes that consumed saltbush during pregnancy may improve their ability to cope with high-salt diets such as saltbush when they consume it themselves. However, the high-salt offspring did not possess such beneficial adaptations.
Chadwick, M., Vercoe, P., Williams, I., & Revell, D. (2009). Dietary exposure of pregnant ewes to salt dictates how their offspring respond to salt. Physiology & Behavior, 97(3-4), 437-445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.017