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Nutr Rev. 2017 Dec 1;75(12):951-970. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux053.

Developmental origins of health and disease: current knowledge and potential mechanisms.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Program in International Nutrition, and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health, Center for Childhood Nutrition Education and Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
University/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, The Children's Health Research Institute and the Lawson Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


Epidemiologic and clinical research has provided a large body of evidence supporting the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD), but there has been a relative dearth of mechanistic studies in humans due to the complexity of working with large, longitudinal cohorts. Nonetheless, animal models of undernutrition have provided substantial evidence for the potential epigenetic, metabolic, and endocrine mechanisms behind DOHaD. Furthermore, recent research has explored the interaction between the environment and the gastrointestinal system by investigating how the gut microbial ecology may impact the capacity for nutrient processing and absorption in a manner that may limit growth. This review presents a summary of current research that supports the concept of DOHaD, as well as potential mechanisms and interactions that explain how nutrition in utero and during early childhood influences lifelong health.


developmental origins; disease; epigenetics; fetal origins; glucocorticoids; health; obesity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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