[Fetal programming of cardiovascular disease: new causes and underlying mechanisms]

Rev Med Suisse. 2012 Sep 12;8(353):1716, 1718-24.
[Article in French]


There exists an association between pathologic events occurring during early life and the development of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. For example, transient perinatal hypoxemia predisposes to exaggerated hypoxic pulmonary hypertension and preeclampsia predisposes the offspring to pulmonary and systemic endothelial dysfunction later in life. The latter finding offers a scientific basis for observations demonstrating an increased risk for premature cardiovascular morbidity in this population. Very recently, we showed that offspring of assisted reproductive technologies also display generalized vascular dysfunction and early arteriosclerosis. Studies in animal models have provided evidence that oxidative stress and/or epigenetic alterations play an important pathophysiological role in the fetal programming of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / embryology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / genetics
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Biological
  • Persistent Fetal Circulation Syndrome / complications
  • Persistent Fetal Circulation Syndrome / etiology
  • Persistent Fetal Circulation Syndrome / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / genetics
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology