Several epidemiologic studies have shown that intrauterine growth retardation is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease in later life. In this review, we discuss these epidemiologic studies and animal models that have been developed to investigate the pathophysiology of this phenomenon. We discuss data suggesting that intrauterine growth retardation leads to fetal exposure to maternal glucocorticoids. In addition, we present other data showing that fetal exposure of glucocorticoids during specific times of fetal development results in focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, a reduced number of nephrons, hypertension, and diabetes. These studies suggest that at critical times during fetal development fetal injury programs the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in later life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health