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Developmental programming of cardiovascular disease by prenatal hypoxia

  • D. A. Giussani (a1) and S. T. Davidge (a2)


It is now recognized that the quality of the fetal environment during early development is important in programming cardiovascular health and disease in later life. Fetal hypoxia is one of the most common consequences of complicated pregnancies worldwide. However, in contrast to the extensive research effort on pregnancy affected by maternal nutrition or maternal stress, the contribution of pregnancy affected by fetal chronic hypoxia to developmental programming is only recently becoming delineated and established. This review discusses the increasing body of evidence supporting the programming of cardiac susceptibility to ischaemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury, of endothelial dysfunction in peripheral resistance circulations, and of indices of the metabolic syndrome in adult offspring of hypoxic pregnancy. An additional focus of the review is the identification of plausible mechanisms and the implementation of maternal and early life interventions to protect against adverse programming.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Prof. D. A. Giussani, Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EG, UK. (Email


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Developmental programming of cardiovascular disease by prenatal hypoxia

  • D. A. Giussani (a1) and S. T. Davidge (a2)


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