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Periconceptional environment and the developmental origins of disease

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Miguel Velazquez



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The concept emerging from Professor David Barker’s seminal research on the developmental 21 origins of later life disease has progressed in many directions since first published. One critical 22 question is when during gestation might environment alter the developmental programme with such 23 enduring consequences. Here, we review the growing consensus from clinical and animal research 24 that the period around conception, embracing gamete maturation and early embryogenesis, might be 25 the most vulnerable period. We focus on four types of environmental exposure shown to modify 26 periconceptional reproduction and offspring development and health: maternal overnutrition and 27 obesity; maternal undernutrition; paternal diet and health; and assisted reproductive technology. 28 These conditions may act through diverse epigenetic, cellular and physiological mechanisms to alter 29 gene expression and cellular signalling and function in the conceptus affecting offspring growth and 30 metabolism and leading to increased risk for cardiometabolic and neurological disease in later life.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Endocrinology

Year: 2019

Volume: 242

Issue: 1

Pages: T33-T49

Print publication date: 01/07/2019

Online publication date: 01/02/2019

Acceptance date: 01/02/2019

ISSN (print): 0022-0795

ISSN (electronic): 1479-6805


DOI: 10.1530/JOE-18-0676

PubMed id: 30707679