Low birth weight is associated with impaired murine kidney development and function
In the United States, ~ 8% of all live human births are of low birth weight (LBW) infants (less than 2,500 g) (1). LBW infants are a mixed group representing full-term babies with growth retardation/subnormal weight and infants born premature (less than 37 weeks gestation). A significant cause of low infant birth weight is maternal malnourishment during gestation, which results in underdeveloped kidney and vascular systems, and a reduced final nephron complement. In addition to acute problems soon after birth, these babies often have problems during their adult years with high risk for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, impaired immunity, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease (2–6). In regard to chronic kidney disease, studies show that LBW in humans is a risk factor for the development of focal segmental glomerular sclerosis and is associated with a 70% increase in the risk of end-stage kidney failure in adults (4,7).