open access

Vol 85, No 1 (2014)
ARTICLES
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Fetal programming as a cause of chronic diseases in adult life

Agnieszka Seremak-Mrozikiewicz, Magdalena Barlik, Krzysztof Drews
DOI: 10.17772/gp/1689
·
Ginekol Pol 2014;85(1).

open access

Vol 85, No 1 (2014)
ARTICLES

Abstract

Long-term adaptive changes occurring in a developing fetus in response to unstable in utero environmental conditions, which appear at a particular time (critical window), are called intrauterine or fetal programming. These adaptive changes are beneficial during the intrauterine period because they adapt the fetus to current needs, but may turn out to be harmful in the end and lead to development of chronic diseases in adult life. Fetal programming means the structural and functional changing of an organism, metabolism and function of some cells, tissues and systems, that occur even despite intrauterine limitations. Events of fetal life influence the determination of physiological patterns which may manifest as disease processes in the adulthood (Barker’s hypothesis). Genetic and environmental factors (poor diet in pregnancy, chronic intrauterine fetal hypoxia, the effects of xenobiotics and drugs, as well as hormonal disorders) influence the phenotype of a newborn and are involved in the intrauterine programming process. The effects of fetal programming may be passed along to the next generations via not fully understood pathways, which probably include epigenetic mechanisms. Most of the mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear and need to be elucidated.

Abstract

Long-term adaptive changes occurring in a developing fetus in response to unstable in utero environmental conditions, which appear at a particular time (critical window), are called intrauterine or fetal programming. These adaptive changes are beneficial during the intrauterine period because they adapt the fetus to current needs, but may turn out to be harmful in the end and lead to development of chronic diseases in adult life. Fetal programming means the structural and functional changing of an organism, metabolism and function of some cells, tissues and systems, that occur even despite intrauterine limitations. Events of fetal life influence the determination of physiological patterns which may manifest as disease processes in the adulthood (Barker’s hypothesis). Genetic and environmental factors (poor diet in pregnancy, chronic intrauterine fetal hypoxia, the effects of xenobiotics and drugs, as well as hormonal disorders) influence the phenotype of a newborn and are involved in the intrauterine programming process. The effects of fetal programming may be passed along to the next generations via not fully understood pathways, which probably include epigenetic mechanisms. Most of the mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear and need to be elucidated.
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Keywords

pregnancy, fetal programming, Barkers hypothesis

About this article
Title

Fetal programming as a cause of chronic diseases in adult life

Journal

Ginekologia Polska

Issue

Vol 85, No 1 (2014)

DOI

10.17772/gp/1689

Bibliographic record

Ginekol Pol 2014;85(1).

Keywords

pregnancy
fetal programming
Barkers hypothesis

Authors

Agnieszka Seremak-Mrozikiewicz
Magdalena Barlik
Krzysztof Drews

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