Eureka 2019: Diabetes and Its Generational Impact During Pregnancy

For the fifth year in a row, Endocrine News spoke with editors from Endocrine Society journals to get the scoop on the top endocrine discoveries of 2019. Here is part 2 of Eureka! 2019.

Endocrinology associate editor Patricia Brubaker, PhD, FRSC, professor, Departments of Physiology and Medicine at the University of Toronto, in Ontario, credits “Gestational Diabetes Adversely Affects Pancreatic Islet Architecture and Function in the Male Rat Offspring” by Dolinsky, V.W., et. al. from August as worth highlighting.

Prior studies have shown that exposure to diabetes during pregnancy impaired beta cell function in offspring and correlated with early-onset type 2 diabetes, possibly due to altered gene expression. For this study, researchers induced gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in female rats via diet to determine how GDM influences pancreatic islet structure and function in one-day-old neonates and in 15-week-old (young adulthood).

“The findings provide novel testable hypotheses that may help us to understand the generational impact of diabetes during pregnancy.”

In male offspring fed high-fat, high-sugar diets, insulin and glucagon secretion were significantly reduced. Thus, effects on islet gene expression were worse in male rats than they were on control in terms of inflammation, mitochondrial function/oxidative stress resistance, and ribosomal proteins.

“This study demonstrated, in a rat model, that gestational diabetes causes significant changes in islet gene expression that are linked to impaired glucose homeostasis in the adult offspring,” Brubaker syas. “The findings provide novel testable hypotheses that may help us to understand the generational impact of diabetes during pregnancy.”


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