The Placenta and Human Developmental Programming

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Developmental programming is a rapidly advancing discipline of great importance to basic scientists and health professionals alike. This text integrates, for the first time, contributions from world experts to explore the role of the placenta in developmental programming. The book considers the materno-fetal supply line, and how perturbations of placental development impact on its functional capacity. Chapters examine ways in which environmental, immunological and vascular insults regulate expression of conventional and imprinted genes, along with their impact on placental shape and size, transport, metabolism and endocrine function. Research in animal models is integrated with human clinical and epidemiological data, and questions for future research are identified. Transcripts of discussions between the authors allow readers to engage with controversial issues. Essential reading for researchers in placental biology and developmental programming, as well as specialists and trainees in the wider field of reproductive medicine.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Anthony Shanks, MD (Washington University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive description of the role of the placenta in human growth and development that grew out of discussions at a conference of experts in 2009.
Purpose: The purpose is to discuss the proceedings of the conference, but present them in a way that highlights the complexities of the placenta. The authors also point out the importance of the Barker hypothesis (fetal programming) and further describe the impact that the placenta has in this process. This is a very worthwhile objective and the authors did a good job of focusing on these aspects.
Audience: The book is written for residents, physicians, and researchers interested in fetal and human development.
Features: Chapter 1 lays down the foundation of the textbook — namely describing the various mechanisms that can influence placental development. It also describes the impact of placental development on human growth. The introduction does a nice job of summarizing the material. It is also the only chapter that omits the discussion section. The discussion sections that follow the remaining chapters provide some perspective for the conversations at the conference, but it some ways it detracted and distracted from the information in the chapter. Chapter 14 is an elegant description of the role corticosteroids play in placental programming. Because steroids are standard care for fetal lung maturity in preterm birth, it is important to be aware of these effects. Chapter 10 is another important topic — placental insufficiency. It would have been worthwhile to mention antiphospholipid antibodies as they have been associated with intrauterine growth restriction and severe preeclampsia, and these conditions are theorized to be placentally mediated. Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has renewed its practice bulletin mentioning that it is still recognized as part of the clinical criteria for antiphospholipid syndrome but would not recommend treatment.
Assessment: This is comprehensive reference highlighting placental growth and its role in fetal and human development. The placenta is an often overlooked and misunderstood organ and the authors do an admirable job of discussing the complex mechanisms involved in its regulation. The book is aesthetically pleasing, though some chapters could be combined. The discussion section at the end of every chapter is designed to show the debate that occurred at the conference, but I found it distracting. It made me feel like I was reading a journal manuscript and less like a valuable reference book. It also dates the material, which may hinder the book's long term appeal. However, the material itself is very well presented.
From the Publisher
"This is comprehensive reference highlighting placental growth and its role in fetal and human development. The placenta is an often overlooked and misunderstood organ and the authors do an admirable job of discussing the complex mechanisms involved in its regulation. The book is aesthetically pleasing."
—Doody's Review Service
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521199452
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/2010
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham J. Burton is Professor of Reproductive Biology and Director of the Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

David J. P. Barker is Director of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre (University of Southampton), Southampton General Hospital, UK.

Ashley Moffett is Professor of Reproductive Immunology at the University of Cambridge and Director of Studies in Medicine at King's College, Cambridge, UK.

Kent Thornburg is Director of the Heart Research Center and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oregon, Portland, USA.

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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction Graham J. Burton, David J. P. Barker, Ashley Moffett and Kent Thornburg; 2. The maternal and placental origins of chronic disease David J. P. Barker, Johan G. Eriksson, Eero Kajantie, Saleh H. Alwasel, Caroline H. D. Fall, Tessa J. Roseboom and Clive Osmond; 3. Pre and periconceptual health and the HPA Axis: nutrition and stress Alan A. Jackson, Graham Burdge and Karen Lillycrop; 4. Nutrition and preimplantation development Tom P. Fleming; 5. Materno-fetal transport pathways during embryogenesis and organogenesis Eric Jauniaux and Graham J. Burton; 6. Imprinted genes and placental growth: implications for the developmental origins of health and disease Benjamin Tycko and Rosalind John; 7. Genomic imprinting: epigenetic control and potential roles in the developmental origins of postnatal health and disease Elizabeth J. Radford and Anne C. Ferguson-Smith; 8. Trophoblast invasion and uterine artery remodelling in primates Robert Pijnenborg, Lisbeth Vercruysse and Anthony M. Carter; 9. The role of the maternal immune response in fetal programming Ashley Moffett; 10. Clinical causes and aspects of placental insufficiency Irene Cetin and Emanuela Taricco; 11. Uterine blood flow as a determinant of feto-placental development Lorna G. Moore; 12. Placental amino acid transporters: the critical link between maternal nutrition and fetal programming? Thomas Jansson and Theresa L. Powell; 13. The maternal circulation and placental shape: villus remodelling induced through haemodynamics and oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress Graham J. Burton and Eric Jauniaux; 14. Glucocorticoids and placental programming Owen R. Vaughan, Alison J. Forhead and Abigail L. Fowden; 15. Clinical biomarkers of placental development Gordon C. S. Smith; 16. The placental roots of cardiovascular disease Kent L. Thornburg, Perry F. O'Tierney, Terry Morgan and Samantha Louey; 17. Placental function and later risk of osteoporosis Cyrus Cooper, Laura Goodfellow, Nicholas Harvey, Susie Earl, Christopher Holroyd, Zoe Cole and Elaine Dennison; 18. The placenta and developmental programming: some reflections Robert Boyd and Richard Boyd; Index.

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