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Influences of pre- and postnatal nutritional exposures on vascular/endocrine systems in animals.

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Hoet, JJ 
Reusens, B 


Human epidemiological and animal studies have revealed the long-term effects of malnutrition during gestation and early life on the health of the offspring. The aim of the current review is to survey the different means of achieving fetal malnutrition and its consequences, mainly in animals, and to identify key areas in which to direct future research. We address the impact of various models of a maternal protein-restricted diet and global maternal caloric restriction (either through the reduction of nutrient supply or through mechanic devices), the influence of maternal diabetes, and other maternal causes of fetal damage (maternal infections and toxic food components). More specifically, we enumerate data on how the different insults at different prenatal and early postnatal periods affect and program the development and the function of organs involved in diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Particular emphasis is given to the endocrine pancreas, but insulin-sensitive tissues, kidneys, and vasculature are also analyzed. Where available, the protective effects of maternal food supplementation for fetal organ development and function are discussed. Specific attention is paid to the amino acids profile, and the preventive role of taurine is discussed. Tentative indications about critical time windows for fetal development under different deleterious conditions are presented whenever possible. We also discuss future research and intervention.



Animals, Cardiovascular System, Diabetes, Gestational, Embryonic and Fetal Development, Endocrine System, Female, Nutrition Disorders, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects

Journal Title

Environ Health Perspect

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Volume Title

108 Suppl 3


Environmental Health Perspectives