Prenatal alcohol exposure: Implications for cardiovascular function in the fetus and beyond

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1. The effects of heavy maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on cognitive and behavioural performance and craniofacial malformations in the offspring have been studied extensively. In contrast, the impact of maternal alcohol intake on the cardiovascular system of the offspring and the effects of more modest consumption have received very scant consideration. 2. Adverse conditions in the pre- and neonatal periods can have a profound legacy on offspring health, including the risk of cardiovascular disease. Prenatal alcohol exposure can modulate vascular reactivity, including endothelial and smooth muscle function. 3. Other effects of prenatal alcohol exposure are emerging, including impairment of nephrogenesis and kidney function, and increased arterial stiffness. The impact of even modest prenatal alcohol exposure on cardiovascular health in the offspring remains to be determined. 4. It is envisaged that the culmination of reduced renal and vascular capacity will render the offspring more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease with ageing and exposure to additional insults and lifestyle factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 8
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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