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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Kidney development and the fetal programming of adult disease.

Recent evidence, from both epidemiological and animal experimental studies, suggest that the very first environment, the intrauterine, is extremely important in determining the future health of the individual. Genetic and 'lifestyle' factors impinge on, and can exacerbate, a 'programming' effect of an adverse fetal environment. In this review, we present compelling evidence to suggest that one of the major organs affected by an unfavourable prenatal environment is the kidney. Many of the factors that can affect fetal renal development (i.e. exposure to excess glucocorticoids, insufficient vitamin A, protein/calorie malnutrition (in rats) and alterations in the intrarenal renin angiotensinogen system), also produce hypertension in the adult animal. When nephron number is compromised during kidney development, maladaptive functional changes occur and can lead, eventually, to hypertension and/or renal disease. Surprisingly, it is during the very earliest stages of kidney development that the vulnerability to these effects occurs.[1]


  1. Kidney development and the fetal programming of adult disease. Moritz, K.M., Dodic, M., Wintour, E.M. Bioessays (2003) [Pubmed]
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