Glucocorticoid programming of intrauterine development.
Domestic Animal Endocrinology
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Fowden, A., Valenzuela, O., Vaughan, O., Jellyman, J., & Forhead, A. (2016). Glucocorticoid programming of intrauterine development.. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 56 Suppl S121-S132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.02.014
Glucocorticoids (GCs) are important environmental and maturational signals during intrauterine development. Toward term, the maturational rise in fetal glucocorticoid receptor concentrations decreases fetal growth and induces differentiation of key tissues essential for neonatal survival. When cortisol levels rise earlier in gestation as a result of suboptimal conditions for fetal growth, the switch from tissue accretion to differentiation is initiated prematurely, which alters the phenotype that develops from the genotype inherited at conception. Although this improves the chances of survival should delivery occur, it also has functional consequences for the offspring long after birth. Glucocorticoids are, therefore, also programming signals that permanently alter tissue structure and function during intrauterine development to optimize offspring fitness. However, if the postnatal environmental conditions differ from those signaled in utero, the phenotypical outcome of early-life glucocorticoid receptor overexposure may become maladaptive and lead to physiological dysfunction in the adult. This review focuses on the role of GCs in developmental programming, primarily in farm species. It examines the factors influencing GC bioavailability in utero and the effects that GCs have on the development of fetal tissues and organ systems, both at term and earlier in gestation. It also discusses the windows of susceptibility to GC overexposure in early life together with the molecular mechanisms and long-term consequences of GC programming with particular emphasis on the cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine phenotype of the offspring.
Development, Fetus, Glucocorticoids, Placenta, Programming
We would also like to thank the BBSRC, the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the Centre for Trophoblast for their financial support.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.02.014
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/254237
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk/
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