Genes & Nutrition

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 33–38 | Cite as

Metabolic programming in pregnancy: studies in animal models

  • S. C. Langley-Evans

The developmental origins of adult disease hypothesis

Epidemiological studies of many large populations indicate that non-communicable diseases in adulthood are related to factors in fetal life or during infancy [1]. Low birthweight or disproportion at birth are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type-II diabetes. These associations have been explained in terms of developmental programming, which is the process through which insults or stimuli during early life exert permanent effects upon organ development, physiology and metabolism [18]. Variation in the nutrient supply during fetal has been proposed as the major programming stimulus that determines risk of disease in adulthood.

Studies of human cohorts have mainly required the use of retrospective cohorts and this has raised serious issues regarding control for confounding factors, selection bias and measurement bias [11]. Moreover, within relatively well-nourished populations variation in maternal...


Metabolic programming Animals Glucocorticoids Methylation Development 



The author is supported by grants from the British Heart Foundation, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the European Union (EARNEST).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BiosciencesUniversity of NottinghamLoughboroughUK

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