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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 962923, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/962923
Review Article

Perinatal Programming of Childhood Asthma: Early Fetal Size, Growth Trajectory during Infancy, and Childhood Asthma Outcomes

Child Health, Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZG, UK

Received 20 June 2011; Accepted 31 October 2011

Academic Editor: Kuender D. Yang

Copyright © 2012 Steve Turner. 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 “fetal origins hypothesis” or concept of “developmental programming” suggests that faltering fetal growth and subsequent catch-up growth are implicated in the aetiology of cardiovascular disease. Associations between reduced birth weight, rapid postnatal weight gain, and asthma suggest that there are fetal origins to respiratory disease. The present paper first summarises the literature relating birth weight and post natal growth trajectories to asthma outcomes. Second, issues regarding the interpretation of antenatal fetal ultrasound measurements are discussed. Finally, recent reports linking antenatal measurement and growth trajectory to early childhood asthma outcomes are discussed. Understanding the nature and timing of factors which influence antenatal growth may give important insight into the antecedents of early-onset asthma with implications for interventions.