Nutrient-restricted fetus and the cardio-renal connection in hypertensive offspring

Jeffrey S. Gilbert, Laura A. Cox, Graham Mitchell, Mark J. Nijland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

17 Scopus citations


A suboptimal intrauterine environment has a number of deleterious effects on fetal development and postpartum health outcomes. Epidemiological studies on several human populations have linked socioeconomic status and low birth weight to an increased incidence of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. A growing number of experimental studies in a variety of animal models demonstrate that maternal stressors, such as nutrition and reduced uterine perfusion, affect the intrauterine milieu and result in increased blood pressure in offspring. Several mechanisms appear to contribute to hypertension, including vascular dysfunction and increased peripheral resistance, altered cardio-renal structure and alterations in cardio-renal function. Although many studies have characterized models of developmentally generated hypertension, few have begun to seek therapeutic modalities to ameliorate its incidence. This review discusses recent work that refines hypotheses linking a suboptimal intrauterine environment to cardiovascular and renal phenotypes that have increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006



  • Angiotensin
  • Blood pressure
  • Fetus
  • Gestation
  • Heart
  • Kidney
  • Nephron number
  • Pregnancy
  • Vascular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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