Pathogenic factors associated with maternal hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and diabetic conditions during pregnancy influence fetal development and predispose offspring to cardiovascular disease. Animal models have established cause-effect relationships consistent with epidemiological findings in humans and have demonstrated, in principle, that interventions before or during pregnancy can reduce or prevent pathogenic in utero programming. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which maternal dysmetabolic conditions enhance disease susceptibility in offspring. Identification of these mechanisms is rendered more difficult by the fact that programming effects in offspring may be latent and may require conventional risk factors and inherited genetic co-factors to become clinically manifest. Given the increasing prevalence of maternal risk factors, which is expected to lead to a wave of cardiovascular disease in the coming decades, and the length of prospective studies on developmental programming in humans, greater-than-usual emphasis on experimental models and translational studies is necessary.
- Developmental Programming
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Molecular Medicine
- Pharmaceutical Science