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17 - Placental function and later risk of osteoporosis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2011

Graham J. Burton
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge
David J. P. Barker
Affiliation:
MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton
Ashley Moffett
Affiliation:
Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge
Kent Thornburg
Affiliation:
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, OR
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Summary

This chapter addresses the role played by influences during intrauterine or early postnatal life in establishing the risk of osteoporosis in later years. At any age, the amount and quality of an individual's skeleton reflect their experiences from intrauterine life through the years of growth into young adulthood. Epidemiological evidence that the risk of osteoporosis might be modified by the intrauterine and early postnatal environment has emerged from two groups of studies. First, the retrospective cohort studies in which bone mineral measurements were undertaken. Second, mother-offspring cohorts relating the nutrition, body build and lifestyle of pregnant women to the bone mass of their offspring. The two most-studied forms of epigenetic marking are DNA methylation and histone modification. The key nutrients likely to influence fetal bone development include calcium and vitamin D, and therefore this axis provides a model for investigating the epigenetic regulation of bone mass.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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