Low birth weight in humans is associated with increased risk of hypertension, diabetes or affective disorders in later life. Excessive foetal exposure to glucocorticoids (GCs) retards organism growth, as GCs exert prenatal programming in a variety of target tissues. Whilst many researchers have argued on the basis of conventional animal models to explain the links between prenatal GC exposure and the commonest human disorders, none has shown strict relevance to humans. To elucidate the mechanisms in a primate model, we propose extending the studies in rats to marmoset monkeys. The animals will be treated prenatally with GCs, studying the impact upon potential adverse metabolic programming, reproductive and immune function, HPA axis activity, brain function and morphology and behaviour. Understanding how such prenatal programming works provides prospects for disease prevention and health promotion.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2288 GJ Rijswijk Zh
171 76 Stockholm
2333 CC Leiden
EH3 9ET Edinburgh