Augmented glucose production is not contingent on high catecholamines in fetal sheep with IUGR

Melissa A. Davis, Leticia E. Camacho, Alexander L. Pendleton, Andrew T. Antolic, Rosa I. Luna-Ramirez, Amy C. Kelly, Nathan R. Steffens, Miranda J. Anderson, Sean W. Limesand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Fetuses with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) have high concentrations of catecholamines, which lowers the insulin secretion and glucose uptake. Here, we studied the effect of hypercatecholaminemia on glucose metabolism in sheep fetuses with placental insufficiency-induced IUGR. Norepinephrine concentrations are elevated throughout late gestation in IUGR fetuses but not in IUGR fetuses with a bilateral adrenal demedullation (IAD) at 0.65 of gestation. Euglycemic (EC) and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic (HEC) clamps were performed in control, intact-IUGR, and IAD fetuses at 0.87 of gestation. Compared to controls, basal oxygen, glucose, and insulin concentrations were lower in IUGR groups. Norepinephrine concentrations were five-fold higher in IUGR fetuses than in IAD fetuses. During the EC, rates of glucose entry (GER, umbilical + exogenous), glucose utilization (GUR), and glucose oxidation (GOR) were greater in IUGR groups than in controls. In IUGR and IAD fetuses with euglycemia and euinsulinemia, glucose production rates (GPR) remained elevated. During the HEC, GER and GOR were not different among groups. In IUGR and IAD fetuses, GURs were 40% greater than in controls, which paralleled the sustained GPR despite hyperinsulinemia. Glucose-stimulated insulin concentrations were augmented in IAD fetuses compared to IUGR fetuses. Fetal weights were not different between IUGR groups but were less than controls. Regardless of norepinephrine concentrations, IUGR fetuses not only develop greater peripheral insulin sensitivity for glucose utilization but also develop hepatic insulin resistance because GPR was maintained and unaffected by euglycemia or hyperinsulinemia. These findings show that adaptation in glucose metabolism of IUGR fetuses are independent of catecholamines, which implicate that hypoxemia and hypoglycemia cause the metabolic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adrenal gland
  • Epinephrine
  • Fetal growth restriction
  • Insulin resistance
  • Insulin secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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