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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 565160, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/565160
Review Article

Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the Offspring of Diabetic Women: The Impact of the Intrauterine Environment

1Pregnancy Research Centre, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
2Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The Royal Childrens Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
3Child Health Research Unit, Barwon Health, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
4Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
5Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
6Environmental and Genetic Epidemiology Research Group, Population Health, Genes and Environment Theme, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The Royal Childrens Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

Received 30 July 2012; Accepted 13 September 2012

Academic Editor: N. Cameron

Copyright © 2012 Laura J. Marco 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.

Abstract

The incidence of gestational diabetes is increasing worldwide, exposing large numbers of infants to hyperglycaemia whilst in utero. This exposure may have a long-term negative impact on the cardiovascular health of the offspring. Novel methods to assess cardiovascular status in the neonatal period are now available—including measuring arterial intima-media thickness and retinal photography. These measures will allow researchers to assess the relative impact of intrauterine exposures, distinguishing these from genetic or postnatal environmental factors. Understanding the long-term impact of the intrauterine environment should allow the development of more effective health policy and interventions to decrease the future burden of cardiovascular disease. Initiating disease prevention aimed at the developing fetus during the antenatal period may optimise community health outcomes.