Fetal origins of renal disparities.
Epidemiologic studies of populations continue to emerge showing that early-life factors influence the risk of developing several chronic diseases of adulthood. Susceptibility to environmental factors is particularly problematic during renal development, which is not complete until 36 weeks of gestation. Environmental deprivation may lead to adaptations including early growth restriction, whereas late insults may alter the kidney during the final stages of development. Because disparities among those who are more likely to have low birth weight mirrors the disparities observed among those more likely to develop kidney-related disorders, fetal origins have been presumed to explain some of the observed disparities. Although current empiric evidence supports a link between fetal programming and childhood/adult kidney disease, affected pathways may vary by race.
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