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Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory


Christina Schlumbohm and Eberhard Fuchs

Glucocorticoid hormone programming in early life and its impact on adult health

Studies in animals have indicated a link between prenatal exposure to synthetic glucocorticoids and alterations in fetal development. Glucocorticoids program fetal development in a way that apparently increases the risk of neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney failure in adult life. Increased knowledge of the adverse effects of prenatal programming of body functions and behavior will help provide new strategies for disease prevention and health promotion.

Until now, preclinical studies on the mechanisms induced by prenatal hyperexposure to glucocorticoids were conducted predominantly in rodents. However, rodents are far from ideal models of primate pregnancy, with multiple offspring and both short gestation lengths and life time. Clearly, mechanistic studies need to be extended to species closer to humans, since ethical constraints determine that further observations can only remain indirect in humans.
Within the EC project EUPEAH (Glucocorticoid hormone programming in early life and its impact on adult health) the Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory provides for the European science community marmoset monkeys prenatally hyper-exposed to the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone. The expected results of this project applied to the situation in humans are a matter of major public health and clinical importance.

EUPEAH provides the infrastructure to breed and house marmoset monkeys and to perform multidisciplinary and strongly interconnected studies by sharing biological material, technology, knowledge and data between partners. The establishment of a European non-human primate bank (EPTB) for tissues and body fluids will harmonize resource collection and distribution between diverse research facilities. It will prevent the duplication of collections across Europe and ultimately reduce the number of experimental animals, thus contributing to animal welfare.

For more information please see: www.eupeah.org

© 09.01.12  Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory
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