Early environmental influences on lung development: implications for lung function and respiratory health throughout life

Richard Harding, Kenneth J Snibson, Megan O'Reilly, Gert S Maritz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In humans, the lung develops during prenatal life and infancy, after which it increases in size but not complexity. Exposure to sub-optimal environmental conditions during these early life stages can alter lung development, leading to reduced lung function and an increased risk of respiratory illness later in life. Environmental factors prevailing during early life that have been linked to long-term changes in lung structure, lung function and respiratory health include undernutrition, preterm birth, reduced intrathoracic space, respiratory infections, maternal tobacco smoking and exposure to allergens. In this chapter, we briefly review the impact of some of the major factors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Life Origins of Human Health and Disease
EditorsD P Newnham, M G Ross
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Pages78 - 88
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)380559139X
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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