Dr. Zachary Ferraro’s dissertation abstract titled, “An examination of maternal contributors and potential modifiers of fetal growth in pregnancy,” has been published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. Citation details are below.

Zachary M Ferraro. An examination of maternal contributors and potential modifiers of fetal growth in pregnancy. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 10.1139/apnm-2012-0426. Published on the web 19 November 2012.

ABSTRACT: A greater understanding of critical periods of body weight regulation, including pregnancy, may aid in efforts to optimize weight management strategies for the mother and her baby. The gestational period has been implicated to play, in the child, a vital role in the developmental origins of obesity and other cardiometabolic diseases later in life. Therefore, we initially examined existing literature on the role of maternal obesity and its link to pediatric obesity and documented the known underlying physiological mechanisms responsible for this relationship while suggesting potential intervention targets that may improve maternal-fetal outcomes. In a second paper, we aimed to quantify maternal predictors of large for gestational age neonates in the Ottawa and Kingston (OaK) birth cohort with specific hypotheses verifying the independent contribution of maternal prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) to fetal overgrowth. This paper also highlights the clinical utility of the revised 2009 Institute of Medicine GWG guidelines and discusses the potential role of physiological factors underlying the observed associations. As a follow-up to our population-level analysis, papers three and four highlight how the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis, a vital regulator of growth and development, may be compromised at the molecular level in cases of maternal obesity (paper 3) and excessive GWG (paper 4). In paper 3 we show that maternal obesity is associated with attenuated expression of IGF binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4) in umbilical cord blood and discuss how this may preferentially promote fetal adipogenesis.