London: Too much or too little salt consumed during pregnancy has an adverse effect on the prenatal development of the offspring's kidneys.

It can lead to high blood pressure in later years, says a new study that shows how a pregnant woman's sodium intake and her newborn's kidney development is linked.

The study, based on mice, was conducted by Nadezda Koleganova, Grzegorz Piecha, Annett Müller and others from the University of Heidelberg, reports the American Journal of Physiology--Renal Physiology.

This research builds upon past studies that recognize that excessive salt intake causes secretion of specific steroids which can be harmful for pregnant women, since they are correlated with low birth-weight and higher blood pressure in the offspring.

Previous research has also linked high blood pressure with a low nephron number, critical because the nephron is the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney, according to a Heidelberg statement.

The nephron eliminates wastes from the body, regulates blood volume and blood pressure controls levels of electrolytes and metabolites. Its functions are vital to life and are regulated by the endocrine system.

(Agencies)