The Concept of Birth Weight and Renal Disease

  • Jens R. Nyengaard
  • Else Vestbo


Much attention has been focused on the lack of nutrition in the early environment of human beings, in order to explain the development of disease in adult life [1,2]. Nutrition in an inadequately nourished foetus may be reserved for the developing brain, at the expense of other less important organs such as the pancreas and the kidney. These organs may then in later life suffer from diseases because they have been deprived of nutrition at a crucial stage in their development. In the kidney, for instance, the embryological development is very tightly controlled [3]. In vitro studies have shown that manipulation of the matrix of glomerular morphogenesis may generate less developed nephrons [4], and in vivo studies have shown that protein restriction in pregnant rats results in new-born rats with fewer and a smaller number of glomeruli [5,6].


Birth Weight NIDDM Patient Placental Weight Current Body Mass Index Glomerular Number 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Barker DJP. Fetal and infant origins of adult disease. London; BMJ Publications 1992.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barker DJP. Mothers, babies, and disease in later life. London; BMJ Publications 1994.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bard JB, Wolf AS. Nephrogenesis and the development of renal disease. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1992; 7: 563–572.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bard JB. Traction and the formation of mesenchymal condensations in vivo. BioEssays 1990; 12: 389–393.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zeman FJ. Effects of maternal protein restriction on the kidney of the newborn young of rats. J Nutr 1968; 94: 111–116.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Merlet-Benichou C, Lelievre-Pegorier M, Gilbert T, Muffat-Joly M, Leroy B. Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and inborn nephron deficit in the rat. J Am Soc Nephrol 1992; 3: 49P.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Barker DJP, Gluckman PD, Godfrey KM, Harding JE, Owens JA, Robinson JS. Fetal nutrition and cardiovascular disease in adult life. Lancet 1993; 341: 938–941.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Edwards CRW, Benediktsson R, Lindsay RS, Seckl JR. Dysfunction of placental glucocorticoid barrier: link between fetal environment and adult hypertension? Lancet 1993; 341: 355–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Osmond C, Barker DJP, Winter PD, Fall CHD, Simmonds SJ. Early growth and death from cardiovascular disease in women. BMJ 1993; 307: 1519–1524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fall CHD, Vijayakumar M, Barker DJP, Osmond C, Duggleby C. Weight in infancy and prevalence of coronary heart disease in adult life. BMJ 1995; 310: 17–19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Barker DJP, Winter PD, Osmond C, Margetts B, Simmonds SJ. Weight in infancy and death from ischaemic heart disease. Lancet 1989; i: 578–580.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Barker DJP, Bull AR, Osmond C, Simmonds SJ. Fetal and placental size and risk of hypertension in adult life. BMJ 1990; 301: 259–262.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Holland FJ, Stark O, Ades AE, Peckman CS. Birth weight and body mass index in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as predictors of blood pressure at age 36. J Epidemiol Community Health 1993; 47: 432–435.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Phillips DJ, Barker DJP, Hales CN, Hirst S, Osmond C. Thinness at birth and insulin resistance in adult life. Diabetologia 1994; 37: 150–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cook JTE, Levy JC, Page RCL, Shaw JAG, Hattersley AT, Turner RC. Association of low birth weight with β cell function in the adult first degree relatives of non-insulin dependent diabetic subjects. BMJ 1993; 306: 302–306.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hales CN, Barker DJP, Clark PMS, Cox LJ, Fall C, Osmond C, Winther PD. Fetal and infant growth and impaired glucose intolerance at age 64. BMJ 1991; 303: 1019–1022.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Phipps K, Barker DJP, Hales CN, Fall CHD, Osmond C, Clark PMS. Fetal growth and impaired glucose intolerance in men and women. Diabetologia 1993; 36: 225–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Robinson S, Walton RJ, Clark PM, Barker DJP, Hales CN, Osmond C. The relation of fetal growth to plasma glucose in young men. Diabetologia 1992; 35: 444–446.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fall CHD, Osmond C, Barker DJP, Clark PMS, Hales CN, Stirling Y, Meade TW. Fetal and infant growth and cardiovascular risk factors in women. BMJ 1995; 310: 428–432.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Law CM, Barker DJP, Osmond C, Fall CH, Simmonds SJ. Early growth and abdominal fatness in adult life. J Epidemiol Community Health 1992; 46:184–186.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    McCance DR, Pettitt DJ, Hanson RL, Jacobsson LT, Knowler WC, Bennett PH. Birth weight and non-insulin dependent diabetes: thrifty genotype, thrifty phenotype, or surviving small baby genotype? BMJ 1994; 308: 942–945.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Garrett PJ, Bass PS, Sandeman DD. Barker, Brenner, and babies — early environment and renal disease in adulthood. J Pathol 1994; 173: 299–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Benediktsson R, Lindsay RS, Noble J, Seckl JR, Edwards CRW. Glucocorticoid exposure in utero: new model for adult hypertension. Lancet 1993; 341: 339–341.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Paneth N, Susser M: Early origin of coronary heart disease (“the Barker Hypothesis”). BMJ 1995; 310: 411–412.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Christensen K, Vaupel JW, Holm NW, Yashin AI. Mortality among twins after age 6: fetal origins hypothesis versus twin method. BMJ 1995; 310: 432–436.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Strachan DP, Leon DA, Dodgeon B. Mortality from cardiovascular disease among interregional migrants in England and Wales. BMJ 1995; 310: 423–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Perry IJ, Beevers DG, Whincup PH, Beresford D. Predictors of ratio of placental weight to fetal weight in multiethnic community. BMJ 1995; 310: 436–439.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Beaulac-Baillargeon L, Desrosiers C. Caffeine-cigarette interaction on fetal growth. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1987; 157: 1236–1240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Clarson C, Tevaarweek GJM, Harding PGR, Chance GW, Haust MD. Placental weight in diabetic pregnancies. Placenta 1989; 10: 275–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Dombrowski MP, Berry SM, Johnson MP, Saleh AAA, Sokol RJ. Birth weight-length ratios, ponderal indexes, placental weights and birth weight-placenta ratios in a large population. Arch Pediatr Adoles Med 1994; 148: 508–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Brenner BM, Garcoa DL, Anderson S. Glomeruli and blood pressure: Less of one, more the other? Am J Hypertens 1988; 1: 335–347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Brenner BM, Chertow GM. Congenital oligonephropathy and the etiology of adult hypertension and progressive renal injury. Am J Kid Dis 1994; 23: 171–175.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Nyengaard JR, Bendtsen TF. Glomerular number and size in relation to age, kidney weight, and body surface in normal man. Anat Rec 1992; 232: 194–201.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bendtsen TF, Nyengaard JR. The number of glomeruli in Type I (insulin-dependent) and Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients. Diabetologia 1992; 35: 844–850.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Garrett PJ, Sandeman DD, Reza M, Rogerson ME, Bass PS, Duncan RC, Dathan JR. Weight at birth and renal disease in adulthood. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1993; 8: 920.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Duncan RC, Bass PS, Garrett PJ, Dathan JR. Weight at birth and other factors influencing progression of idiopathic membranous nephropathy. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1994; 9: 871–880.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sandeman DD, Reza M, Phillips DD, Barker DJP, Osmond C, Leatherdale BA. Why do some type 1 diabetics develop nephropathy? A possible role of birth weight. Diabetic Med 1992; 9: Suppl. 1: 36A.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Leroy B, Josset P, Morgan G, Costil J, Merlet-Benichou C. Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and nephron deficit: Preliminary study in man. Pediatr Nephrol 1992; 6: 3.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hinchliffe SA, Lynch MRJ, Sargent PH, Howard CV, Van Velzen V. The effect of intrauterine growth retardation on the development of renal nephrons. Br J Obstet Gynecol 1992; 99: 296–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Eshøj O, Vaag A, Feldt-Rasmussen B, Borch-Johnsen K, Beck-Nielsen H. No evidence of low birth weight as a risk factor for diabetic nephropathy in type 1 diabetic patients. Diabetologia 1995; 38: Suppl. 1: A222.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Nyengaard JR, Bendtsen TF, Mogensen CE. Low birth weight — is it associated with few and small glomeruli in normal persons and NIDDM (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) patients? Diabetologia 1996; in press.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Vestbo E, Damsgaard EM, Frøland A, Mogensen CE. Birth weight and cardiovascular factors in an epidemiological study. Diabetologia 1996; in press.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Leon DA, Koupilova I, Lithell HO, Berglund L, Mohsen R, Vågerö D, Lithell U-B, McKeigue PM. Failure to realise growth potential in utero and adult obesity in relation to blood pressure in 50 year old Swedish men. BMJ 1996; 312: 401–406.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lithell HO, McKeigue PM, Berglund L, Mhsen R, Lithell U-B, Leon DA. Relation of size at birth to non-insulin dependent diabetes and insulin concentrations in men aged 50–60 years. BMJ 1996; 312: 406–410.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens R. Nyengaard
    • 1
  • Else Vestbo
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Stereology University of Aarhus and Department of Medicine MAarhus KommunehospitalAarhusDenmark

Personalised recommendations