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Early origins of heart disease: Low birth weight and determinants of cardiomyocyte endowment

Authors


  • Presented at the joint AuPS/ASB meeting Emerging Leaders in Developmental Physiology, Adelaide, December 2010. The papers in these proceedings were peer reviewed under the supervision of the AuPS Editor. The papers are being published with the permission of AuPS and were initially published on the AuPS website http://www.aups.org.au.

Dr JL Morrison, Heart Foundation South Australian Cardiovascular Health Network Fellow Foundation, Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email: janna.morrison@unisa.edu.au

Summary

1. World-wide epidemiological and experimental animal studies demonstrate that adversity in fetal life, resulting in intrauterine growth restriction, programmes the offspring for a greater susceptibility to ischaemic heart disease and heart failure in adult life.

2. After cardiogenesis, cardiomyocyte endowment is determined by a range of hormones and signalling pathways that regulate cardiomyocyte proliferation, apoptosis and the timing of multinucleation/terminal differentiation.

3. The small fetus may have reduced cardiomyocyte endowment owing to the impact of a suboptimal intrauterine environment on the signalling pathways that regulate cardiomyocyte proliferation, apoptosis and the timing of terminal differentiation.

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