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Am J Hypertens. 2002 Feb;15(2 Pt 2):46S-49S.

Perinatal programming, renal development, and adult renal function.

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Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Substantial data indicate that maternal diet during gestation, as well as perinatal events, affect organogenesis and, furthermore, may affect organ function at maturity, thus determining whether an individual is prone or resistant to a variety of health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or renal dysfunction. This concept is called perinatal programming, or the fetal origins of adult disease (FOAD), a concept that arose after the publication of epidemiologic observations by Barker and colleagues that birth weight among apparently normal individuals studied in midlife was inversely associated with the presence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. We now review evidence from studies in experimental animal models that have used nutritional and pharmacologic manipulation to extend epidemiologic observations.

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