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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 269853, 8 pages
Review Article

Intrauterine Growth Retardation and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Children

1Liver Research Unit, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital and Research Institute, 00165 Rome, Italy
2Department of Maternal and Pediatric Sciences, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda—Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy

Received 27 July 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editor: Daniela Jezova

Copyright © 2011 Anna Alisi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), the most important cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity, is defined as a foetal growth less than normal for the population, often used as synonym of small for gestational age (SGA). Studies demonstrated the relationships between metabolic syndrome (MS) and birthweight. This study suggested that, in children, adolescents, and adults born SGA, insulin resistance could lead to other metabolic disorders: type 2 diabetes (DM2), dyslipidemia, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD may evolve to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and it is related to the development of MS. Lifestyle intervention, physical activity, and weight reduction represent the mainstay of NAFLD therapy. In particular, a catch-up growth reduction could decrease the risk to develop MS and NAFLD. In this paper, we outline clinical and experimental evidences of the association between IUGR, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and NAFLD and discuss on a possible management to avoid the risk of MS in adulthood.