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

Etiology of congenital diaphragmatic hernia: the retinoid hypothesis.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a major life-threatening cause of respiratory failure in the newborn. Although significant efforts have been undertaken to unravel the pathophysiology of CDH, our current understanding of the etiology remains spare. Here we outline recent evidence suggesting that abnormalities linked with the retinoid signaling pathway early in gestation may contribute to the etiology of CDH. These studies include 1) the effect of altering the retinoid system in vitamin A deficient and transgenic animals; 2) disruption of the retinoid system in teratogen-induced CDH in rodents, 3) the effect of co-administration of retinoids in nitrofen-induced CDH on lung and diaphragm development, and 4) clinical evidence suggesting decreased markers of vitamin A status in human CDH. Given the substantial mortality and morbidity associated with this serious developmental anomaly, advancements in this area will be critical. We feel that there is now sufficient circumstantial and direct experimental evidence to warrant further testing of the retinoid-CDH etiology hypothesis, including examination of retinoid-regulated target genes that could be candidates for involvement in CDH.[1]


  1. Etiology of congenital diaphragmatic hernia: the retinoid hypothesis. Greer, J.J., Babiuk, R.P., Thebaud, B. Pediatr. Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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