Metabolic Programming: Origin of Non-Communicable Diseases in Early Life Nutrition


avatar Ali Kiani 1 , * , avatar Mette Olaf Nielsen 2

Animal Science Group, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Lorestan University, [email protected], IR Iran
Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

how to cite: Kiani A, Nielsen M. Metabolic Programming: Origin of Non-Communicable Diseases in Early Life Nutrition. Int J Endocrinol Metab.9(3): 409-415. doi: 10.5812/Kowsar.1726913X.3366.


Metabolic programming (MP) is defined the induction, deletion, or impaired development of a somatic structure or “setting” of a physiological system by an early life stimulus. Epidemiological and animal studies support the theory that suboptimal intrauterine conditions are associated with non-communicable disease (NCD) in adulthood. Using ovine models, we investigated the long-term consequences of late gestation undernutrition on glucose–insulin axis function and energy metabolism. We found that early life undernutrition had life-lasting consequences on insulin-secretory and adipose lipolytic capacity as well as intermediary metabolism later in life. Furthermore, we showed that suboptimal intrauterine nutrition impairs energy expenditure (EE) in gestation, apparently via an increase in the energy cost of conceptus development. Our findings, and those of other studies, support the hypothesis that energy balance is, to a certain extent, programmed early in life, presumably through appetite, EE, physical activity, and/or disproportional postnatal growth programming.

  • Implication for health policy/practice/research/medical education:
    Metabolic programming is an emerging area of science dealing with the origins of non-communicable diseases. Impaired development due to suboptimal intrauterine conditions may cause short term as well as long term effects on the function of the organisms subsequently determining the health and disease in later life. Reading this review article is recommended to all family physicians, epidemiologists, nutritionists, animal scientist, endocrinologists and health policy makers.
  • Please cite this paper as:
    Kiani A, Nielsen MO. Metabolic Programming: Origin of Non-Communicable Diseases in Early Life Nutrition. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2011;9(3):409-15.DOI: 10.5812/Kowsar.1726913X.3366

Copyright © 2011 Kowsar M.P.Co. All rights reserved.


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