An overwhelming body of evidence links fetal (mal)nutrition to the development of chronic diseases at adult age (DOHaD hypothesis, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease). Epidemiological data show that children small for gestational age (SGA), that were undernourished during intrauterine development, have a higher risk to develop cardiovascular diseases or the metabolic syndrome in adulthood. Knowledge of underlying mechanisms of “metabolic programming” may help to design strategies to halt the current epidemic in metabolic diseases.
Several explanations for the various observed facets of the long-term consequences of fetal malnutrition have been proposed. The research line Epigenetic Programming of the Center for Liver, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases focuses on the epigenetic factors potentially involved in metabolic programming, i.e., DNA methylation and histone modifications. Please check the link below for more information.