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Fetal programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis: low birth weight and central HPA regulation

Ward, Alexandra M.V., Syddall, Holly E., Wood, Peter J., Chrousos, George P. and Phillips, David I.W. (2004) Fetal programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis: low birth weight and central HPA regulation Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 89, (3), pp. 1227-1233. (doi:10.1210/jc.2003-030978).

Record type: Article


Fetal programming of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been proposed as an intermediary in the association between reduced fetal growth and adult cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Previous studies have shown that small size at birth is associated with increased fasting plasma cortisol and adrenal responsiveness to ACTH stimulation. We have extended these studies by evaluating the salivary cortisol response to awakening and plasma ACTH and cortisol responses to CRH stimulation and a dexamethasone-suppressed CRH (DEX/CRH) test in a group of low birth weight [LBW; <3.18 kg (7 lb), n = 58] and high birth weight [>3.86 kg (8.5 lb), n = 65] men aged 60–69 yr. Despite no difference in basal pituitary-adrenal activity or in their ACTH and cortisol responses to CRH, LBW men had significantly lower pituitary-adrenal responses in the DEX/CRH test. Although these findings do not explain the HPA abnormalities associated with LBW in previous studies, they provide further evidence of dysregulation of the HPA axis in people who were small at birth.

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Published date: 2004
Additional Information: Supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant 1 R01 HD41107-01 (to D.I.W.P.)


Local EPrints ID: 26110
ISSN: 0021-972X
PURE UUID: ec13678b-cd4d-486f-a403-9f8841df9d99
ORCID for Holly E. Syddall: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 12 Apr 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:08

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Author: Alexandra M.V. Ward
Author: Holly E. Syddall ORCID iD
Author: Peter J. Wood
Author: George P. Chrousos
Author: David I.W. Phillips

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