Rationale:Maternal obesity pre-programmes offspring to develop obesity and associated cardiovascular disease. Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) exerts an anti-contractile effect on the vasculature, which is reduced in hypertension and obesity.Objective:The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal obesity pre-programmes offspring to develop PVAT dysfunction in later life. Methods: Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a diet containing 10% (control) or 45% fat (high fat diet, HFD) for 12 weeks prior to mating and during pregnancy and lactation. Male offspring were killed at 12 or 24 weeks of age and tension in PVAT-intact or -denuded mesenteric artery segments was measured isometrically. Concentration-response curves were constructed to U46619 and norepinephrine. Results: Only 24-week-old HFD offspring were hypertensive (P<0.0001), although the anti-contractile effect of PVAT was lost in vessels from HFD offspring of each age. Inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthase with 100 μM l-NMMA attenuated the anti-contractile effect of PVAT and increased contractility of PVAT-denuded arteries (P<0.05, P<0.0001). The increase in contraction was smaller in PVAT-intact than PVAT-denuded vessels from 12-week-old HFD offspring, suggesting decreased PVAT-derived NO and release of a contractile factor (P<0.07). An additional, NO-independent effect of PVAT was evident only in norepinephrine-contracted vessels. Activation of AMP-activated kinase (with 10 μM A769662) was anti-contractile in PVAT-denuded (P<0.0001) and -intact (P<0.01) vessels and was due solely to NO in controls; the AMPK effect was similar in HFD offspring vessels (P<0.001 and P<0.01, respectively) but was partially NO-independent. Conclusions: The diminished anti-contractile effects of PVAT in offspring of HFD dams are primarily due to release of a PVAT-derived contractile factor and reduced NO bioavailability.