Connecting clinical, environmental, and genetic factors point to an essential role for vitamin A signaling in the pathogenesis of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

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American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a developmental disorder that results in incomplete diaphragm formation, pulmonary hypoplasia, and pulmonary hypertension. Although a variety of genes have been linked to its etiology, CDH is not a monogenetic disease, and the cause of the condition is still unclear in the vast majority of clinical cases. By comparing human clinical data and experimental rodent data from the literature, we present clear support demonstrating the importance of vitamin A (vitA) during the early window of pregnancy when the diaphragm and lung are forming. Alteration of vitA signaling via dietary and genetic perturbations can create diaphragmatic defects. Unfortunately, vitA deficiency is chronic among people of child-bearing age, and this early window of diaphragm development occurs before many might be aware of pregnancy. Furthermore, there is an increased demand for vitA during this critical period, which exacerbates the likelihood of deficiency. It would be beneficial for the field to further investigate the connections between maternal vitA and CDH incidence, with the goal of determining vitA status as a CDH risk factor. Regular clinical monitoring of vitA levels in child-bearing years is a tractable method by which CDH outcomes could be prevented or improved.
This article was originally published in American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. The version of record is available at: This article will be embargoed until 04/01/2024.
development, maternal fetal health, pregnancy, pulmonary hypoplasia, retinol
Gilbert, Rachel M., and Jason P. Gleghorn. “Connecting Clinical, Environmental, and Genetic Factors Point to an Essential Role for Vitamin A Signaling in the Pathogenesis of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.” American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 324, no. 4 (April 1, 2023): L456–67.