Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to an adverse environment in early life is associated with a substantially increased risk of later disease; a phenomenon termed 'early life programming'. There is increasing evidence that these effects may not be limited to the first, directly exposed generation but may also be transmissible to subsequent generations through non-genomic mechanisms. There are a number of mechanisms which may underpin the intergenerational transmission of the programmed phenotype, including persistence of the abnormal environment across generations, programmed effects on maternal physiology and the transmission of epigenetic information through the germline. In this review we discuss the evidence for these mechanisms in human and animal studies and the potential importance of this field for child health.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Pediatric endocrinology reviews : PER|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|