The ability of mother to provide nutrients and oxygen for her baby is a critical factor for fetal health and its survival. Failure in supplying the adequate amount of nutrients to meet fetal demand can lead to fetal malnutrition. The fetus responds and adapts to undernutrition but by doing so it permanently alters the structure and function of the body. Maternal overnutrition also has long-lasting and detrimental effects on the health of the offspring. There is growing evidence that maternal nutrition can induce epigenetic modifications of the fetal genome. Only relatively recently has evidence from epidemiological and animal studies emerged suggesting that fetal responses to the intrauterine environment may underlie the prevalence of many chronic diseases of adulthood including Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. It is now of crucial importance to gain the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the relationship between fetal alterations to the intra-uterine environment and their long-term effects on the health of an individual.

You do not currently have access to this content.