Light is a crucial environmental signal that affects elements of human health, including the entrainment of circadian rhythms. A suboptimal environment during pregnancy can increase the risk of offspring developing a wide range of chronic diseases in later life. Circadian rhythm disruption in pregnant women may have deleterious consequences for their progeny. In the modern world, maternal chronodisruption can be caused by shift work, jet travel across time zones, mistimed eating, and excessive artificial light exposure at night. However, the impact of maternal chronodisruption on the developmental programming of various chronic diseases remains largely unknown. In this review, we outline the impact of light, the circadian clock, and circadian signaling pathways in pregnancy and fetal development. Additionally, we show how to induce maternal chronodisruption in animal models, examine emerging research demonstrating long-term negative implications for offspring health following maternal chronodisruption, and summarize current evidence related to light and circadian signaling pathway targeted therapies in pregnancy to prevent the development of chronic diseases in offspring.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited