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Fetal programming of disease risk to next generation depends on parental gender
Date:6/4/2011

g of male or female rats that were exposed to dexamethasone during fetal development, this effect was more pronounced in the offspring of male rats exposed to excess glucocorticoids during development in the womb.

Additionally, although birth weight was reduced in the second generation of rats, the genes that were affected differed from those seen in their parents, Drake said. In the first generation, glucocorticoid overexposure in the womb affected genes in the liver of the fetus and in the placenta. This increased the likelihood of the baby rats having a low birth weight and increased their risk of developing diabetes and heart disease in later life, she said.

However, the genes affected in the second generation depended on whether the mother or the father had been exposed to glucocorticoids while developing in the womb, the authors reported. These affected genes that could produce adverse health effects included genes important in growth and the transport of nutrients across the placenta.

Regarding the study, which was funded by the U.K. Medical Research Council, Drake said, "It could help inform future research to find interventions that could prevent diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure," Drake said.


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Contact: Aaron Lohr
alohr@endo-society.org
240-482-1380
The Endocrine Society
Source:Eurekalert

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