Effects of Prematurity and Growth Restriction on Adult Blood Pressure and Kidney Volume

      Gaining insight into the complex cycle of renal programming and its early-life clinical associations is essential to understand the origins of kidney disease. Prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction are associated with low nephron endowment. This increases the risk of developing hypertension and chronic kidney disease later in life. There is appreciable evidence to support mechanistic links between low nephron endowment secondary to intrauterine events and kidney size, kidney function, and blood pressure in postnatal life. A clear understanding of the cycle of developmental programming and consequences of fetal insults on the kidney is critical. In addition, the impact of events in the early postnatal period (accelerated postnatal growth, development of obesity, exposure to nephrotoxins) on the cardiovascular system and blood pressure of individuals born prematurely or with low birth weight is discussed. In summary, this review draws attention to the concepts of renal programming and nephron endowment and underscores the associations between intrauterine growth restriction, prematurity, and its clinical consequences in adult life.

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