Recent advances in developmental biology suggest that alterations in functional maturation of specific organs may serve as a model to assess adverse effects of environmental factors. Maturation of the mammalian lung depends on integrity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis controlling glucocorticoid production and interference with this system retards or prevents acquisition by the lung of factors essential for extrauterine existence.
Knelson JH. Environmental Influence on Intrauterine Lung Development. Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(3):421–425. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310150081011
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