Low birth weight (LBW) is an indirect clinical marker of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and/or of preterm birth, very common complications of pregnancy affecting about 10-15% of births.
Both are associated with a high perinatal mortality/morbidity and are risk factors for chronic cardiovascular (e.g. arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease), and metabolic diseases (insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) at adulthood. The risk may be amplified by an excess catch-up growth during early postnatal life. To decifer the mechanisms of such associations, we are using animal models of IUGR induced by impaired maternal nutrition (low protein diet (LPD, 9% casein) during gestation followed or not by a transient postnatal overfeeding (OF), induced by litter size reduction, during the lactation period. Our research relies on a multidisciplinary approach, which includes in vivo/ex-vivo studies, cellular and molecular biological techniques.