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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Jul;10(7):391-402. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2014.73. Epub 2014 May 27.

Glucocorticoids and fetal programming part 1: Outcomes.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada.
2
Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medicine and Physiology, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada.

Abstract

Fetal development is a critical period for shaping the lifelong health of an individual. However, the fetus is susceptible to internal and external stimuli that can lead to adverse long-term health consequences. Glucocorticoids are an important developmental switch, driving changes in gene regulation that are necessary for normal growth and maturation. The fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is particularly susceptible to long-term programming by glucocorticoids; these effects can persist throughout the life of an organism. Dysfunction of the HPA axis as a result of fetal programming has been associated with impaired brain growth, altered behaviour and increased susceptibility to chronic disease (such as metabolic and cardiovascular disease). Moreover, the effects of glucocorticoid-mediated programming are evident in subsequent generations, and transmission of these changes can occur through both maternal and paternal lineages.

PMID:
24863382
DOI:
10.1038/nrendo.2014.73
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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