Diabetes Risks Could Start in the Womb
Reported May 12, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Babies with low birth weight caused by intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) are at risk for developing adult-onset, type 2 diabetes.
Using a rat model, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found the expression of a gene that is critical for proper functioning of the pancreatic beta cells that become defective in type 2 diabetes is affected not just in the uterus, but throughout life for individuals that experienced IUGR.
Researcher Rebecca Simmons and her colleagues found expressions in the molecular mechanisms that affect the gene called Pdx1 changed three times — first during fetal development, second following birth and a third after the onset of type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Interestingly, the mechanisms can be reversed in the fetus and after birth but not in adulthood.
Researchers say the data provides new insight into how diabetes develops following IUGR.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2008;118