Role of redox in fetal development and neonatal diseases

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2004 Feb;6(1):147-53. doi: 10.1089/152308604771978453.


In the cell, reducing and oxidizing molecules modulate the redox state. In embryonic and fetal growth, increased oxidative stress may be detrimental, but an oxidized state can also be beneficial. This is because redox may also affect key transcription factors that can alter gene expression during development. In addition, redox may impact on placentation and amniotic membrane integrity during pregnancy. Lastly, diseases of prematurity, such as necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and chronic lung disease, may be modulated by redox in the premature. Because antioxidant therapies have not necessarily modified the outcome of these diseases, some debate exists as to this. Nonetheless, sufficient evidence suggests a role for redox throughout embryonic, fetal, and postnatal development. This evidence will be explored here.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / genetics
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / embryology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / metabolism*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / pathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction*
  • Pregnancy