Intrauterine programming

Document Type: Review Article


1 Endocrine Physiology Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid-Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences, Shahid-Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


In mammals, the intrauterine condition has an important role in the development of fetal physiological systems in later life. Suboptimal maternal environment can alter the regulatory pathways that determine the normal development of the fetus in utero, which in post-natal life may render the individual more susceptible to cardiovascular or metabolic adult-life diseases. Changes in the intrauterine availability of nutrients, oxygen and hormones can change the fetal tissue developmental regulatory planning, which occurs genomically and non-genomically and can cause permanent structural and functional changes in the systems, leading to diseases in early years of life and those that particularly become overt in adulthood. In this review we take a brief look at the main elements which program the fetal system development and consequently induce a crucial impact on the cardiovascular, nervous and hormonal systems in adulthood.


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