Document Detail

Glucocorticoid programming of pituitary-adrenal function: mechanisms and physiological consequences.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11972433     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Increasing epidemiological evidence supports the notion that adverse events in fetal life permanently alter the structure and physiology of the adult offspring, a phenomenon dubbed 'fetal programming'. In particular, low weight or thinness at birth in humans is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders as well as neuroendocrine dysfunction in adult life. Glucocorticoid administration during pregnancy is well-documented to both reduce offspring birth weight and alter the maturation of organs (hence their use to accelerate fetal lung maturation in premature labour). Here data are reviewed which show, in rodents and other models, that antenatal exposure to endogenous or exogenous glucocorticoids reduces offspring birth weight and produces permanent hypertension, hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, altered behaviour and neuroendocrine responses throughout the lifespan. Processes underlying fetal programming include determination of the 'set point' of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and of tissue glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression. Similar HPA axis hyperreactivity occurs in lower birth weight humans and may be an early manifestation of the 'low birth weight' phenotype.
D O'Regan; L L Welberg; M C Holmes; J R Seckl
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Seminars in neonatology : SN     Volume:  6     ISSN:  1084-2756     ISO Abbreviation:  Semin Neonatol     Publication Date:  2001 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-04-25     Completed Date:  2002-07-26     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9606001     Medline TA:  Semin Neonatol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  319-29     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Endocrinology Unit, Molecular Medicine Centre, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects
Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
Infant, Newborn
Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects*,  embryology,  physiology*
Prenatal Care
Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / prevention & control
Reg. No./Substance:

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