The effect of adverse perinatal environment (like maternal infection) has long-standing effects on many organ systems, including the respiratory system. Use of maternal nutritional supplements is an exciting therapeutic option that could be used to protect the developing fetus. In a recent issue of the journal, Ali and associates (Ali M, Heyob KM, Velten M, Tipple TE, Rogers LK. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 309: L441–L448, 2015) specifically look at maternal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation and its effect on chronic apoptosis in the lung in a mouse model of perinatal inflammation and postnatal hyperoxia. Strikingly, the authors show that pulmonary apoptosis was augmented even 8 wk after the hyperoxia-exposed mice had been returned to room air. This effect was significantly attenuated in mice that were subjected to maternal dietary DHA supplementation. These findings are novel, significantly advance our understanding of chronic effects of adverse perinatal and neonatal events on the developing lung, and thereby offer novel therapeutic options in the form of maternal dietary supplementation with DHA. This editorial reviews the long-term effects of adverse perinatal environment on postnatal lung development and the protective effects of dietary supplements such as DHA.
- docosahexaenoic acid
- Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society
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