Programming of fetal development is considered to be an important risk factor for noncommunicable diseases of adulthood, including coronary heart disease (CHD). Aiming to investigate the association between maternal nutrition and the development of the coronary arteries (CAs) in staged mice embryos, C57BL/6 mice embryos from Stages 16 to 23 were taken from mothers fed a normal protein (NP) or low protein (LP) diet, and the CA were studied. Although the LP embryos had lower masses, they had faster heart growth rates when compared with the NP embryos. The subepicardial plexuses were observed earlier in the NP embryos (Stage 20) than in the LP ones (Stage 22; P < 0.01). Apoptotic nuclei were seen around the aortic peritruncal ring beginning at Stage 18 in the NP and LP embryos. FLK1+ (fetal liver kinase 1 = VEGF-r2 or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2) cells had a homogeneous distribution in the NP embryos as early as Stage 18, whereas a similar distribution in the LP embryos was only seen at Stages 22 and 23. Maternal protein restriction in mice leads to a delay in the growth of the heart in the embryonic period modifying the development of the subepicardial peritruncal plexus and the apoptosis in the future coronary orifice region. Anat Rec, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.