Placental origins of chronic diseases

Abstract: Epidemiological evidence links an individual’s susceptibility to chronic disease in adult life to events during their intrauterine phase of development. Biologically this should not be unexpected, for organ systems are at their most plastic when progenitor cells are proliferating and differentiating. Influences operating at this time can permanently affect their structure and functional capacity, and the activity of enzyme systems and endocrine axes. It is now appreciated that such effects lay the foundations for a diverse array of diseases that become manifest many years later, often in response to secondary environmental stressors. Fetal development is underpinned by the placenta, the organ that forms the interface between the fetus and its mother. All nutrients and oxygen reaching the fetus must pass through this organ. The placenta also has major endocrineā€¦


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