The Role of the Placenta in Early Programming

Publish Date: 2011
Author(s): Yuan-Xiang Pan, PhD


The placenta, the sole transport mechanism between mother and fetus, regulates the transport of all nutrients between maternal and fetal circulation. This organ is at a marked risk for the accumulation of ectopic fat in obese pregnancies, which are linked to increased risk for birth complications and a variety of adult onset diseases. Dr Pan describes the molecular mechanisms that connect maternal obesity and fetal outcomes and study results demonstrating that in utero exposure to a high-fat diet may program the gluconeogenic capacity of offspring through epigenetic modifications, which could potentially lead to excessive glucose production and altered insulin sensitivity in adulthood.
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Author Bios

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Yuan-Xiang Pan, Phd

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, USA
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