Developmental programming alters life-course multi-organ function and significantly affects life-course health. Recently, interest has developed in how programming may influence the rate of aging. This review describes interactions of nutrition and programming-aging interactions in hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) development and function from fetal development to old age. A full picture of these interactions requires data on levels of HPA activity relating to the hypothalamic, adrenal cortical, circulating blood, and peripheral cortisol metabolism. Data are provided from studies on our baboon, nonhuman primate model both across the normal life course and in offspring of maternal baboons who were moderately undernourished by a global 30% diet reduction during pregnancy and lactation. Sex differences in offspring outcomes in response to similar challenges are described. The data clearly show programming of increased HPA axis activity by moderate maternal undernutrition. Increased postnatal circulating cortisol concentrations are related to accelerated aging of the brain and cardiovascular systems. Future studies should address peripheral cortisol production and the influence of aging advantage in females. These data support the view that the HPA is an orchestrator of interactions of programming-aging mechanisms.
- Cardiovascular system
- Developmental programming: aging
- Hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis
- Nonhuman primate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics