Corticosteroid-mediated programming and the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Volume122
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Glucocorticoids
  • Birthweight
  • Programming
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

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