Heart disease link to fetal hypoxia and oxidative stress

Dino A. Giussani, Youguo Niu, Emilio A. Herrera, Hans G. Richter, Emily J. Camm, Avnesh S. Thakor, Andrew D. Kane, Jeremy A. Hansell, Kirsty L. Brain, Katie L. Skeffington, Nozomi Itani, F. B.Peter Wooding, Christine M. Cross, Beth J. Allison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

37 Citations (Scopus)


The quality of the intrauterine environment interacts with our genetic makeup to shape the risk of developing disease in later life. Fetal chronic hypoxia is a common complication of pregnancy. This chapter reviews how fetal chronic hypoxia programmes cardiac and endothelial dysfunction in the offspring in adult life and discusses the mechanisms via which this may occur. Using an integrative approach in large and small animal models at the in vivo, isolated organ, cellular and molecular levels, our programmes of work have raised the hypothesis that oxidative stress in the fetal heart and vasculature underlies the mechanism via which prenatal hypoxia programmes cardiovascular dysfunction in later life. Developmental hypoxia independent of changes in maternal nutrition promotes fetal growth restriction and induces changes in the cardiovascular, metabolic and endocrine systems of the adult offspring, which are normally associated with disease states during ageing. Treatment with antioxidants of animal pregnancies complicated with reduced oxygen delivery to the fetus prevents the alterations in fetal growth, and the cardiovascular, metabolic and endocrine dysfunction in the fetal and adult offspring. The work reviewed offers both insight into mechanisms and possible therapeutic targets for clinical intervention against the early origin of cardiometabolic disease in pregnancy complicated by fetal chronic hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Fetal and Neonatal Physiology
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Center for Perinatal Biology 40th Anniversary Symposium
EditorsLubo Zhang, Charles A. Ducsay
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781493910304
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
EventAnniversary Symposium of Center for Perinatal Biology 2013 - Loma Linda, United States of America
Duration: 11 Feb 201311 Feb 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


ConferenceAnniversary Symposium of Center for Perinatal Biology 2013
CountryUnited States of America
CityLoma Linda


  • Antioxidants
  • Hypoxia
  • IUGR
  • Oxidative stress
  • Programming

Cite this

Giussani, D. A., Niu, Y., Herrera, E. A., Richter, H. G., Camm, E. J., Thakor, A. S., Kane, A. D., Hansell, J. A., Brain, K. L., Skeffington, K. L., Itani, N., Wooding, F. B. P., Cross, C. M., & Allison, B. J. (2014). Heart disease link to fetal hypoxia and oxidative stress. In L. Zhang, & C. A. Ducsay (Eds.), Advances in Fetal and Neonatal Physiology: Proceedings of the Center for Perinatal Biology 40th Anniversary Symposium (pp. 77-87). (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; Vol. 814). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-1031-1_7