Like other organs, the lung is influenced by its nutritional environment during development. As lung tissue has a limited capacity to remodel itself following altered development, nutritionally induced alterations in lung structure can persist throughout life. Epidemiological evidence indicates that sub-optional nutrition during early life, leading to fetal growth restriction or retarded postnatal growth, can lead to impaired lung function in later life. Restricted nutrient intake during development can impact upon alveolarization and the small conducting airways; tethering of small airways is diminished. Although multiple tissue components of the lung can be affected by nutritional impairment during development, those most likely to have persistent effects on lung function are structural proteins such as elastin and basement membrane proteins. The long-term persistence of alterations in lung function and structure may be a reflection of the effective cessation of alveolarization in early life and epigenetic changes induced by early life exposures.
|Title of host publication||The Lung|
|Subtitle of host publication||Development, Aging and the Environment|
|Editors||Richard Harding, Kent E Pinkerton|
|Place of Publication||London UK|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|