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Environmental Effects Impacting Preimplantation Development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Miguel Velazquez


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The preimplantation embryo undergoes morphogenesis to form a blastocyst largely independent of its external environment mediated through an intrinsic developmental program. However, the early embryo across species is sensitive to external cues such as growth factors, cytokines, metabolites, and nutrients which in the short-term tend to influence the rate of morphogenesis or specific cellular processes involved. Recent research has shown that environmental conditions may also change the early embryo in ways that have a legacy beyond the preimplantation period. These environments include in vivo maternal nutrition, physiology, and health during this short window around the time of conception as well as paternal seminal plasma. They also include in vitro conditions as occur in assisted reproductive treatment (ART) to overcome infertility. In such circumstances, preimplantation embryos may respond to environmental factors through a series of epigenetic, molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms that alter fetal and postnatal phenotype despite no change in genotype. This plasticity of the early embryo has implications for the health and disease risk of offspring across their lifespan.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fleming TP, Velazquez MA, Watkins AJ, Eckert JJ

Editor(s): Michael Skinner

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Encyclopedia of Reproduction

Year: 2018

Volume: 3

Pages: 459-464

Print publication date: 27/07/2018

Online publication date: 30/07/2018

Acceptance date: 31/05/2018

Edition: 2nd

Series Title: Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences

Number of Volumes: 6

Publisher: Academic Press, Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.64515-4

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780128118993