Intrauterine growth restriction and risk for arterial hypertension: a causal relationship?

J Perinat Med. 2007;35(5):361-5. doi: 10.1515/JPM.2007.082.


Aims: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) has been demonstrated to have serious consequences for health in adult age. These include an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, pulmonary and cardiovascular disorders. These disorders are in part secondary to the development of arterial hypertension, which has been demonstrated to be more frequent in individuals subjected to restricted intrauterine growth.

Methods: A review on publications on pathogenesis and epidemiology of hypertension associated to IUGR.

Results: Current concepts for this association include a reduced nephrogenesis and increased arterial stiffness, impaired sympathetic regulation and steroid metabolism secondary to IUGR. Early postnatal risk-modifying factors include among others catch-up growth leading to childhood overweight.

Conclusion: IUGR increases the risk of hypertension in adult life. Identifying relevant risk factors for arterial hypertension will be the basis for the development of preventive concepts to be applied for predisposed individuals.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney / growth & development