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Embryonic origins of cardiovascular health in later life: disentangling early causal pathways in a lifecourse perspective

Project summary

Children born preterm or with a small size at birth have increased risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in adulthood. These intriguing associations strongly suggest that common diseases have at least part of their origins in early fetal life. The main hypothesis for this project is that adverse exposures before or very early in pregnancy induce embryonic and placental developmental adaptations, which permanently affect cardiovascular and metabolic development and predispose individuals to both adverse outcomes at birth and cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunction and diseases in later life.


This project will provide unique and important new perspectives into the earliest origins of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and will ultimately contribute to development of preventive strategies focused on future parents and children.

More detailed information

Principal Investigator:

Role Erasmus MC:



Project website:

Funding Agency:

European Research Council (ERC) /
Consolidator Grant