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Maturation and Differentiation of the Fetal Vasculature


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: September 2013 - Volume 56 - Issue 3 - p 537–548
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e31829e5bc9
Fetal Origins of Adult Disease

Rapid postnatal growth and differentiation of fetal arterial smooth muscle is coordinated by a cacophony of growth factors, one of the most important of which is vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In fetal arterial smooth muscle, VEGF influences both the expression and intracellular organization of contractile proteins and helps mediate hypoxic vascular remodeling. Numerous factors influence the expression of VEGF and its receptors, including chronic hypoxia, maternal food restriction, glucocorticoids, and miRNA. Continued study of the coupling between VEGF and transcription factors such as myocardin that govern smooth muscle differentiation, offers great promise for better clinical management of neonates at risk for cardiovascular dysregulation.

*Center for Perinatal Biology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda;

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California

W.J.P. was supported by NIH grant numbers HL54120, HD31266, HL64867, NS076945, and the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. O.K. was supported by Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Correspondence: William J. Pearce, PhD, Center for Perinatal Biology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.