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Complications of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) include increased pulmonary morbidities and impaired alveolar development. Normal alveolar development depends upon elastin expression and processing, as well as the formation and deposition of elastic fibers. This is true of the human and rat. In this study, we hypothesized that uteroplacental insufficiency (UPI)-induced IUGR decreases mRNA levels of elastin and genes required for elastin fiber synthesis and assembly, at birth (prealveolarization) and postnatal day 7 (midalveolarization) in the rat. We further hypothesized that this would be accompanied by reduced elastic fiber deposition and increased static compliance at postnatal day 21 (mature lung). We used a well characterized rat model of IUGR to test these hypotheses. IUGR decreases mRNA transcript levels of genes essential for elastic fiber formation, including elastin, at birth and day 7. In the day 21 lung, IUGR decreases elastic fiber deposition and increases static lung compliance. We conclude that IUGR decreases mRNA transcript levels of elastic fiber synthesis genes, before and during alveolarization leading to a reduced elastic fiber density and increased static lung compliance in the mature lung. We speculate that the mechanism by which IUGR predisposes to pulmonary disease may be via decreased lung elastic fiber deposition.


Lisa A Joss-Moore, Yan Wang, Xing Yu, Michael S Campbell, Christopher W Callaway, Robert A McKnight, Albert Wint, Mar Janna Dahl, Randal O Dull, Kurt H Albertine, Robert H Lane. IUGR decreases elastin mRNA expression in the developing rat lung and alters elastin content and lung compliance in the mature rat lung. Physiological genomics. 2011 May 13;43(9):499-505

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PMID: 21363967

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