Epidemiological studies have shown that low birthweight is associated with increased risk of development of diabetes and obesity in later life. Over-exposure of the developing fetus to glucocorticoids is one of the major hypotheses that has been proposed to explain this association. In animal models, a range of manipulations that increase fetal glucocorticoid load, 'programme' permanent changes in glucose and insulin metabolism and adiposity. This may be mediated by alterations in regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In humans, low birthweight is associated with increased circulating glucocorticoid levels, and an increased cortisol response to physiological and psychosocial stressors, in child- and adulthood. This activation of the HPA axis is also associated with increased risk of development of diabetes and obesity in later life.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|